David Milliband, then foreign secretary, told MPs that Israel had shown a “profound disregard” for British sovereignty, adding: “The fact that this was done by a country which is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK, only adds insult to injury.”
Will Pardo’s magnanimity extend to Australia, Ireland, France and Germany, whose passports were also abused by Mossad?
The duplicitous use of foreign passports is not the primary crime committed by Israel. Extrajudicial executions are outlawed by the Second Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions (1977) that states:
“No sentence shall be passed and no penalty shall be executed on a person found guilty of an offence except pursuant to a conviction pronounced by a court offering the essential guarantees of independence and impartiality.” (Second Protocol of the Geneva Conventions (1977) Art 6.2)
The taking of life based on suspicions against a person, represents a gross violation of fundamental principles of law and morality. It is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and further, is defined as a war crime by the International Criminal Court. These legal-moral principles are applicable to every country, organization and person, whether or not they are an official party to these instruments.
In this ruling, the Israeli High Court indiscriminately adopts the Israeli government’s practice that strips “unlawful combatants” of their legal and human rights. International law does not recognize a category of “unlawful combatants” who do not enjoy either the rights of combatants in the battlefield or those of protected civilians. The Court did not question the prevailing modus operandi of Israel’s security forces, which declares that all Palestinian civilians are “unlawful combatants” a posteriori, after an execution has been made, again without any legal review or oversight.
The Fourth Geneva Convention relates to the protection of civilian population in time of war. Article 146 of the Convention obligates the High Contracting Parties to enact effective penal sanctions for persons who have committed, or ordered to be committed, “grave breaches” of the Convention. Article 147 defines “grave breaches” to include “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment.”
As Israeli scholar Tanya Reinhart says: “Under military rule, Israel has become a leading force in the destruction of the very protections that humankind has established, out of World War Two, for its own preservation, protections that we too may need one day, as history has already shown us”.
On The Drum, Jonathan Holmes has broached the Fairfax vessel and uncovered its seedy motives for ignoring the ‘scientific journalism’ process made possible by Wikileaks and extolled by Assange.
Third, Julian Assange has made another claim for WikiLeaks, which he says sets it apart from other media organisations. According to this op-ed in The Australian last week:
WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?
Well, WikiLeaks clearly doesn’t insist on ‘scientific journalism’ being practised by all the media outlets with which it’s working. The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are still publishing story after story by Philip Dorling – stories that have deeply embarrassed or compromised Kevin Rudd, Mark Arbib, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Stephen Gumley, to name just a few, not to mention the US Embassy in Canberra. But we can’t judge for ourselves if Dorling has reported accurately or fairly, because Fairfax hasn’t posted a single cable online.
On Monday I sent an email to SMH editor-in-chief Peter Fray, asking him why not. His response (read it in full here) makes it clear that the primary reason is to protect not the public, but Fairfax’s commercial, interest:
…the volume of material in The Australian referenced cables means we are still mining the source documents. There are, for instance, several potential stories in each cable; to put the material online would be to give access to our competitors in the local market.
That’s not a line of reasoning that has prevented The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde or any other of WikiLeaks’s collaborators from posting cables online to support their stories; and it would seem to be in direct contravention of the principles espoused by Julian Assange. Perhaps he’s been too preoccupied by other matters recently to have noticed.
Philip Dorling has undoubtedly scored a major scoop for Fairfax. Most of the stories he’s writing – and there are goodness knows how many to come – are fascinating, especially to politics and foreign policy junkies. But we’re having to take them on trust, and we shouldn’t have to. And very few are telling us stuff we didn’t already know (Kevin Rudd’s a control freak; Defence Procurement is a mess; China doesn’t like the Defence White Paper): what they are telling us is that the US Embassy knew it too, often before we did. Surprise, surprise.
The Australian puts in its bib bleating “We would have loved the leaks given to Fairfax papers but we note the problems they have had sieving wheat from chaff”, patting itself and the rest of the mainstream media on the back for raising Wikileak’s circulation, and filtering the information on behalf of an inept public. This is the sort of contemptuous attitude which further encourages one to distrust Australian dead wood media generally. The UK Guardian has managed to keep its pact with its readers, while Australians are deemed inadequate.
Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.
The first attempts of the Jones family to phone in a missing persons report on 11 November 1982 were complicated by red tape. The police investigation only commenced three days later when family members travelled some five thousand kilometres to file the report in person. As stated at the inquest, basic police inquiries were neglected: for example, police failed to get a report from the hospital on treatment Jones had received prior to his disappearance and at least one key witness mentioned by the coroner was never interviewed. The family was also left without police assistance when they conducted a door-knock inquiry in the vicinity of the phone booth in Bowen Road, Rosslea, which was the last confirmed whereabouts. Police did not release an identikit sketch of a suspect until 10 years after they received information about the suspect.
Media reports on the inquest highlighted other problems with the investigation, reporting that some of the witness statements were missing and that the former investigating officer had been uncooperative with coronial inquiries. The media also reported that it was 2001 before statements were obtained from several people who first approached police in 1982.
Other criticisms were voiced by the coroner and the coroner’s assistant. Coroner Fisher said “more attention should have been given to early investigation”, while his assistant, Sergeant Kym Farquharson-Jones, said the inquest evidence showed police investigations into the disappearance were “not sufficient by today’s standard”.
The view of Sergeant Farquharson-Jones is indicative of the systemic problems highlighted in the Fitzgerald Inquiry report. Tony Fitzgerald QC, who presided over the Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct, said the Queensland police culture of the 1980s was “debilitated by misconduct, inefficiency, incompetence, and deficient leadership”. As a result of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, the Commissioner of Police Terry Lewis, the man who presided over the Queensland police in the early years of the Jones investigation, and whose name appeared on the original police reward for information on the suspected murder of Jones, was subsequently convicted and jailed for corruption.
In 1983 four men from the Drug Squad in Brisbane arrived in Mareeba unannounced to take Dickson’s file on drug trafficking in Far North Queensland ‘to put on the computer in Canberra’. The files never arrived there. Early in 1984 Dickson was taken off all drug investigations and told not to leave Mareeba without giving full details to the inspector. He was transferred to Townsville in June 1984 and was forbidden to visit Mareeba unless accompanied by a Commissioned Officer.6
Fast Buck$ claimed that a prominent Queensland police officer, who was ‘well-known in the Police Force as the man who controlled (and still controls) escort agencies and gambling in North Queensland — and who was often to be seen in casinos with a call-girl on his knee’ also controlled this Drug Joke. Fast Buck$ also claimed that a prominent National Party minister was ‘an ambitious front man’ for the Mafia in North Queensland, feeding drug money into the coffers of the National Party.7
Although these Fast Buck$ allegations were ignored by the mainstream media, tens of thousands of pink Fast Buck$ Report leaflets were delivered to rush hour commuters during the 1984 election in Brisbane. And Fast Buck$ was given considerable publicity on radio station 4ZZZ.
The Fitzgerald Inquiry was held from 1987-89, presided over by Tony Fitzgerald QC. Fittingly, it was triggered by the work of investigative journalists who risked their lives to winnow out the weevils infesting the Queensland Police Force.
The inquiry was established in response to a series of articles on high-level police corruption in The Courier-Mail by reporter Phil Dickie, followed by a Four Corners television report, aired on 11 May 1987, entitled “The Moonlight State” with reporter Chris Masters. With Queensland’s Premier of 18 years, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, out of the state, his deputy Bill Gunn ordered a commission of inquiry.
Did the young Assange learn from Fast Buck$ and 4ZZZ’s role models? Regardless of the sex-crime distraction and the outcome of Assange’s hearing, he honours principles which are vital for us all.
In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government”. The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.
@wikileaks : Let down by the UK justice system’s bizarre decision to refuse bail to Julian Assange. But #cablegate releases continue as planned.#
@jrug : Magistrate; “if these allegations are true there is no way he should be granted bail. That is the dilemma.” #
People all over Australia and the world are calling for the release of Julian Assange and his protection in the name of free speech and public interest. He has been vilified by politicians and right wing commentators worldwide, with the Canadian PM calling for his assassination!
Let the Aust gov know you support free speech and Wikileaks.
Call on Gillard to protect Assange.
The rally date coincides with International Human Rights Day. Rally organisers say the Australian government has failed to uphold the human rights of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.
BRISBANE – 12 noon, this Friday December 10
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 295 Ann Street, City.
SYDNEY- Sydney Town Hall @ 1pm, Friday December 10.
MELBOURNE – Facebook event for the protest in Melbourne to defend Julian Assange: http://on.fb.me/gHWHyq
Melbourne Protest to defend Julian Assange at State Library, Melbourne 4.30pm, this Friday, Dec 10
Australia and Melbourne Indymedia stand in solidarity with Wikileaks
For many demented US politicians and media shills, Wikileaks is the US equivalent to Salman Rushdie’s fatwahed Satanic Verses. While the Wikileaks insurance file with its encrypted archive of unredacted documents has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of Wikileaks supporters during the last week, it seems the US has only just realised the implications. One tweet containing the password, and the entire archive can be unencrypted for public viewing – this is insurance against a US coverup of its criminality, not a means of protecting Julian Assange, who is resigned to the consequences of his public stance. Assange has stated the reason for Wikileaks’ existence is for there to be no need for a Wikileaks. The ‘invisible government’, the obscene hidden oligathical conspiracy and exceptionalism must end and all governments be accountable to international law and their electors. The US State Dept representative, Philip J. Crowley tweets his smear only today:
@PJCrowley: Julian #Assange comes clean as opportunist, threatens to put others at risk to save his own hide. #
that if Mr. Assange were to be brought to trial on rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by U.S. politicians, he would release the encryption key. The tens of thousands of people who have downloaded the file would instantly have access to the names, addresses and details contained in the file.
Against a backdrop of impunity and exceptionalism, the issue of repellent doctrines of pre-emption and full spectrum global dominance adopted during the venal Bush years, and consequent massacres of millions of brown-skinned innocents far from those who fund and vote them, the hypocritical imperial crocodiles are concerned about the impact of the release of unredacted documents it will create by its own hand.
The US is particularly irascible about the publication of critical sites which it regards as critical around the world. Yet as the Wikileaks site points out, those sites were available to around 2.5 million people – hardly guarded knowledge. Australian sites of interest include
Australia: Southern Cross undersea cable landing, Brookvale, Australia Southern Cross undersea cable landing, Sydney, Australia Manganese – Battery grade, natural; battery grade, synthetic; chemical grade; ferro; metallurgical grade Nickel Mines Maybe Faulding Mulgrave Victoria, Australia: Manufacturing facility for Midazolam injection. Mayne Pharma (fill/finish), Melbourne, Australia: Sole suppliers of Crotalid Polyvalent Antivenin (CroFab).
What is of most concern is the methodology the US used to glean this knowledge.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said:
“The latest release from the Embassy Cables reveals US embassies were asked to gather information on key infrastructure and resources without the knowledge of, or consultation with, their host governments.
“This further undermines claims made by the US government that its embassy officials do not play an intelligence gathering role.
“In terms of security issues, while this cable details the strategic importance of assets across the world, it does not give any information as to their exact locations, security measures, vulnerabilities or any similar factors – though it does reveal the US asked its diplomats to report back on these matters.
Some of the names have been added to a US list of people banned from boarding commercial flights, with the rest to be monitored by US spy agencies.
Kevin Rudd claims Assange will be treated ‘like any other citizen’ which means no doubt the supine Australian government would hand him over to its master on demand as it did David Hicks, another occasion when the Australian government’s tongue was inserted from US bottom to tonsils. Would the Australian government also OK a US assassination order? There is a list of organisations and people who have criminalised Wikileaks and threatened Assange here.
Wikileaks continues to expose the cloying connubial relationship between government and corporate entities: Jillian C. York notes the hypocrisy of EveryDNS.com which removed Wikileaks DNS service.
@jilliancyork: EveryDNS: “we believe in our New Hampshire state motto, Live Free or Die.” http://www.everydns.com/ (block on right side of page) #
York also asks:
“Did Library Of Congress Lie? White House Says No Requirement To Block Wikileaks | Techdirt” ( http://bit.ly/f0AfJI ) #
Interestingly, The Guardian, which has been redacting and releasing wikicables alters a headline about NATO’s posture toward Russia. The original headline reads ‘WikiLeaks cables reveal secret Nato plan for war with Russia Alliance agrees to defend Poland and Baltics if Moscow attacks – while Warsaw fumes over ‘potted plant’ Patriot batteries” which is replaced by
“WikiLeaks cables reveal secret Nato plans to defend Baltics from Russia
• Leaked diplomatic cables reveal Russia strategy
• British troops identified for combat operations
• Washington offers to beef up Polish security”
Content of the stories also differs. Decide for yourself which is the better interpretation by reading the original redacted cables at the Guardian.
Julia Gillard in a press conference broadcast today by the ABC has claimed Wikileaks cable publications are “grossly irresponsible misconduct”, there has been “no advice from the Australian federal police yet” and the cables’ “foundation stone is an illegal act”. In common with many politicians, she appears to have a low regard for normal journalistic activities.
Opposition Legal Affairs spokesman George Brandis accused Ms Gillard of being “clumsy” with her language on the issue of illegality.
“As far as I can see, he (Assange) hasn’t broken any Australian law,” he told Sky News.
“Nor does it appear he has broken any American laws.”
Senator Brandis, a Queen’s Counsel, called for any debate about the publishing of the cables to have a well-defined understanding of the difference between something which appeared to be morally wrong and an act which was illegal.
“As far as I can see, nothing Mr Assange has done does break the law.”
“Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution,” Coatsworth wrote in an e-mail to the SIPA community Monday morning (full e-mail message below). “Thus, SIPA’s position is that students have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena that they deem relevant to their studies or to their roles as global citizens, and to do so without fear of adverse consequences.”
SIPA Professor Gary Sick, the prominent Middle East expert who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan, went even further in repudiating the memo.
“If anyone is a master’s student in international relations and they haven’t heard of WikiLeaks and gone looking for the documents that relate to their area of study, then they don’t deserve to be a graduate student in international relations,” Sick told Wired.com in an interview.
The US state department knew there were more cables to come months ago. The Afghanistan and Iraq material published earlier this year was opaque and acronymed – to work through them required extreme dedication and professionalism. According to Iraq body count, the data will take many months more to work through.
The current cables range from didactic to droll and are much more accessible to a prurient public hot for salacious ruling class peccadillos. The elite apparently don’t mind if the bodies they slaughtered are inspected long after, as long as their precious image at embassy cocktail parties isn’t tarnished, their complicity in torture coverups uncovered, that their deceptive sabre rattling at Iran isn’t exposed as a charade. Even now, despite the glaring evidence, many cling to the delusion that an attack on Iran is imminent.
I wavered as I read Kevin Rudd’s presentation to Clinton, knowing full well what I would find – evidence of an increased military buildup to keep pace with China’s growing security role in the region which they promised it years ago, though not with the boorish suggestion of matched belligerence. I thought Kevvie did rather well given the limitations and arrogance of the US – they will still run the show through membership of a regional body – yet it makes sense in a cold-hearted financially pragmatic way, since Australia is a quarry for the military juggernaut. China and America build implements of war from our minerals – increased militarisation suits everyone except me, and others like me, which is just about everyone.
After yesterday’s frolics, between throwing Leftist Palestinian charters and speeches identifying imperialism as organically related with zionism at anti-semite white supremacists and dealing with a plague of conspiracists who think because Assange said Netanyahu was a sophisticated politician this was a form of praise and evidence of zionist collusion rather than an equation of him with a used car salesman or particularly venomous snake, along with attempting to preserve my own citizenship rights from the craven compliance of the Australian government with empire, noticing little solidarity for this from non-Australians, my messages back to @wikileaks and @wikileaks2 were
Send her down Huey 🙂 RT @wikileaks: Cablegate: Boy, the last time there was a leak like this, Noah built himself a boat. #
Hey there … power on, process A OK, govt still seems to want to commit to ridiculous amounts of arms purchases 🙂 #
For 2 yrs a chain: #netfilter => #openinternet => #opensociety : #wikileaks helps Australians confront censorship then AND now 🙂 thanks! #
Here’s my Christmas Wikiwish list:
(1) No, we don’t want those F35s (2) Global demilitarisation (3) Equal human rights for all (4) Whatever happened to Al Suri?
One last thought – as with the rightsless Palestinian people, Australian rights and justice go out the window when the US is concerned, The ruling class that disallows justice for Palestinians is the same ruling class that is enabling the persecution of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Julian Assange has now been arrested according to the BBC. An op-ed will appear in tomorrow’s Australian – here’s the beginning of a gist.
‘Mr Assange begins by saying: `In 1958, a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide’s The News, wrote: `In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.’’
It goes on to say a few more things about freedom of speech; the `dark days’ of corrupt government in Queensland (where Assange was raised); the Fitzgerald inquiry; and it says much about his upbringing in a country town, “where people spoke their minds bluntly.’’
It says that Australian politicians are chanting a “provably false chorus’’ with the US State Department of “You’ll risk lives! You’ll endanger troops!’’ by releasing information, and “then they say there is nothing of importance in what Wikileaks publishes. It can’t be both.’’