Patrice Riemens on Fri, 10 Dec 2010 21:42:15 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Julian Assange: Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths


Strangely enough, 'the Voice' has not found its way to nettime yet
(afaik). I found this by complete accident, together with 'the Face',
litteraly in the gutter. A copy of wednesday's NRC-Next, the little
brother of our august, and somewaht arrogant 'paper of records', the

It lay wet and folded on the pavement, but as the full face of, well, the
face, was staring at me, I picked it up and put it to dry on the radiator.
Next morning I had the full run-down of Assange's sexual misadventures,
and where his lack of 'consequential analysis' will most probably lead him
v.a.v the Swedish judicial system. As everything was culled from nordic
media, people familiar with Stig Larson's "Millenium' trilogy were in
totally familiar terrain.

it also refered to Assange's self-plea in The Australian of Dec 7. here it
Cheers, p+3D!

original to:

WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.
by Julian Assange

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."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that
Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British
commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up
but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the
termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that
need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds
bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be
corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the
Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what
happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core
values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies
in new ways to report the truth.

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?

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.

People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes
nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing
more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then
asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line
for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people
will decide whether to support it.

If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy
cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported,
consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these
things freely.

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media
outlets, including Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in
Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has
copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and
its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an
Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in
the US for me to be "taken out" by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I
should be "hunted down like Osama bin Laden", a Republican bill sits
before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a "transnational threat"
and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's
office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An
American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to
be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to
these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the
Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to
whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks
supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to
help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens
and shipping them to the US.

Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not
had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because
The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while
WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the
messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including
information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous
public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One
might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her
citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly
unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially
the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and
above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They
will not.

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US
agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the
State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger
troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks
publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that
time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as
anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government
connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US
congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been
compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there
was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in
Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who
needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No
Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic
cables reveal some startling facts:

* The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and
information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA,
fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID
photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN
diplomats may be targeted, too.

* King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.

* Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran's nuclear program stopped by
any means available.

* Britain's Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect "US interests".

* Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept
from parliament.

* The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed
detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian
President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati
was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

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.

Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

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