An investigative journalist with a reputation for uncovering and disseminating the truths and deceits that lie behind western governance has had the good fortune to be handed, what can only be described as a scoop. As any good journalist would he has put it into the public arena, in this case with the collusion of the Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times. While it is questionable whether or not his source Mr. Manning has committed a crime it is fairly clear that he has not.
Had these revelations been about the inner workings of the new coalition and had been leaked to the opposition, they would, as all political parties do, have pounced on them with glee? There are undoubtedly quite legitimate questions as to where the line should be drawn in respect of national security but Mr. Julian Assange, be he the hero or the villain of this piece is being made to pay a heavy price for thinking that Western countries really mean it when they claim that they are committed to press freedom.
All he has done is publish information that the United States of America does not like. Yet we are constantly led to believe that the US is the embodiment of all the fundamental human rights in the UN Charter, including freedom of the press.
Any reasonable person must think that the coincidence of the rape charges and the leaks is suspicious; entrapment is used by many governments to control or smear those they don’t like or want to discredit. Both of the women who Assange is alleged to have raped, publically rejoiced in their relationships with him after the alleged rapes occurred but have subsequently tried to remove those statements from the internet, why?
Both encounters began with their consent and both women claimed that only included the use of condoms because they were worried about the possibility of sexually transmitted disease. Therefore, if they have not been infected and I am sure they will have checked, then they do not have much of a case to bring. Although a high enough financial inducement might persuade them that a small dose of the clap could be a good investment.
It might also occur to some that there is a high probability that intelligence officers (Swedish perhaps, in conjunction with the CIA) might have identified and perhaps approached these women after their encounters and before they made the complaints against Assange.
That the US could do all this is underlined by statements made by some of their leading political figures, Sarah Palin, has called for Mr. Assange to “be hunted down like al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders”. US Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has called for him to be arrested for treason. Bill O'Reilly, a US political commentator has called for him to be executed. When last week, Mr. Assange was arrested in London to face extradition charges, the US Secretary of Defence, Mr. Robert Gates, called it “good news”.
None of us are likely to be much concerned by anything Sarah Palin says, because its for sure she wouldn’t be able to find Julian Assange if he were painted fluorescent pink and blown up to ten times his size, he’s outside Alaska, after all. Mr. Gates however, is another matter, as he is one of the US’s two top defence officials.
What really concerns me however, is how blatantly obvious all of this is, anyone with an IQ above 26 can see what the US are doing and even while they themselves are clearly aware that this is the case they are not being deterred. Up until now most western democracies have, when acting underhandedly, made strenuous efforts to cover their tracks, that the US are not doing so now I find very frightening, its as if they know that the illusion of clean governance is shattered but also realise that it doesn’t matter because there is nothing any of us (except perhaps Julian Assange) can do about it.
Just imagine if anything remotely similar had happened in Iran or China, or Zimbabwe: the US and Europe would have awarded the leaker the Nobel Prize. Just last week, the nations who are chasing Mr. Assange were awarding the Nobel Price to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has been imprisoned in China for inciting subversion. Only when it comes to nuclear weapons are double standards and hypocrisy as blatant as this.
Every nation that subscribes to justice and open democracy will inevitably be judged on their own track record, the USA’s suffered quite a knock with Guantanamo Bay, but this has the potential to be very much worse.
It seems very simple to me (although I have to admit that my IQ is only 38) either we support human rights or we don't; there is no middle way! Such double standards should not go un-challenged.
Godfrey Sayers 16/12/2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
The chilling intimidation campaign against WikiLeaks (when they have broken no laws) is an attack on freedom of the press and democracy. We urgently need a massive public outcry to stop the crackdown -- let's get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!
The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free press advocates everywhere.
Legal experts say WikiLeaks has likely broken no laws. Yet top US politicians have called it a terrorist group and commentators have urged assassination of its staff. The organization has come under massive government and corporate attack, but WikiLeaks is only publishing information provided by a whistleblower. And it has partnered with the world's leading newspapers (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel etc) to carefully vet the information it publishes.
The massive extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression. Sign the petition to stop the crackdown and forward this email to everyone -- let's get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!
To access these URL s copy and paste into your browser.
WikiLeaks isn't acting alone -- it's partnered with the top newspapers in the world (New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corporate corruption.
The US government is currently pursuing all legal avenues to stop WikiLeaks from publishing more cables, but the laws of democracies protect freedom of the press. The US and other governments may not like the laws that protect our freedom of expression, but that's exactly why it's so important that we have them, and why only a democratic process can change them.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether WikiLeaks and the leading newspapers it's partnered with are releasing more information than the public should see. Whether the releases undermine diplomatic confidentiality and whether that's a good thing. Whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the personal character of a hero or a villain. But none of this justifies a vicious campaign of intimidation to silence a legal media outlet by governments and corporations. Click below to join the call to stop the crackdown:
Ever wonder why the media so rarely gives the full story of what happens behind the scenes? This is why - because when they do, governments can be vicious in their response. And when that happens, it's up to the public to stand up for our democratic rights to a free press and freedom of expression. Never has there been a more vital time for us to do so.
Law experts say WikiLeaks in the clear (ABC)
WikiLeaks are a bunch of terrorists, says leading U.S. congressman (Mail Online)
Cyber guerrillas can help US (Financial Times)
Amazon drops WikiLeaks under political pressure (Yahoo)
"WikiLeaks avenged by hacktivists" (PC World):
US Gov shows true control over Internet with WikiLeaks containment (Tippett.org)
US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee (The Guardian)
WikiLeaks ditched by MasterCard, Visa. Who's next? (The Christian Science Monitor)
Assange's Interpol Warrant Is for Having Sex Without a Condom (The Slatest)
Posted by Godfrey Sayers at 01:08