Amid the chaos of sexual assault, potentially bogus legal charges and the possibility of extradition to the United States for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange , one thing is clear; the citizens of Adelaide will gather to defend their right to free speech and protect our right to have freedom of uncensored information. And we have proved that we will stand up for one of our own countrymen in trouble overseas and also for the defence of personal freedom for the people of the free world.
Last night, Tuesday December 14th at 5pm, as streams of workers filed past to their respective homes, there was a gathering of concerned citizens, sharing information and voicing protests about the current Wikileaks fiasco.
The protest was timed to occur at the same time as Julian Assange’s bail hearing in London. Australians in London also organised a protest at the Australian Embassy in London and for the bail hearing.
Our protest was one of many rallies around Australia to support Assange and Wikileaks.
The thing is a lot of people see the allegations of sexual assault in Sweden as bogus potentially trumped up charges and there is a mass of evidence mounting that Julian Assange will not receive a fair trial. Furthermore the U.S may use this (or may have engineered) this fiasco to extradite Assange to the United States where they can try him as a terrorist. These charges seem especially suspicious seeing as they come just weeks after Wikileaks and Assange created a nightmare of diplomacy and international relations for the United States by releasing 251,287 confidential US Embassy cables.
This is not about protecting the right to free speech, this is about protecting the freedom of freedom.
What it will all boil down to is this; is it illegal to read documents that have been handed to you and then publish them if you feel that it is for the good of the world?.
Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland has instructed federal police to investigate Assange and said he possibly faced arrest and the removal of his passport if he entered Australia.
The issues that brought out the most outcry from the crowd were the fact that Julia Gillard and the Australian government were prepared to cut Assange loose and attempt to deny him his rights as an Australian citizen while he is in custody overseas. The Gillard government’s stance that Wikileaks “must be founded on an illegal action” seems to this journalist to be an extremely crass political move to try and step backwards from the political S#@t storm that these events have caused. This is solidified by the fact that more than a week later no lawyer in the world has found one illegal action in relation to wikileaks’ conduct.
As Australians we would like to think that if we were in trouble overseas that our government would back us to the hilt, and do all that they can to get us home safely. This has not been the case on many occasions (the Bali 9, Chapelle Corby to highlight a few).
Greens M.P. Sarah Hanson Young stated on Sunday at the first protest that; “It is concerning that Australian Prime Minister Gillard said earlier this month that WikiLeaks’ release of cables was ‘an illegal thing to do’ but more than a week after she first made the claim, she has still not been able to identify an Australian law that WikiLeaks has actually broken. Yet in this period our federal government has had all the resources of the AFP attempting to do just that.”
Independent candidate for Parliament Mark Aldridge summed it up best in his protest speech when he said “When we gather like this the government takes notice and they begin to fear us because they know that we know they have made mistakes, and they damn well should fear us!”.
The most disturbing news relayed by the speakers at the rally came from a legal-insider who claimed that they had inside information from top level lawyers in the u.s that extradition papers and charges were being/had already been drawn up against Assange which will be ready to roll as soon as the U.S secures an extradition from Sweden.
Assange’s next target is big business. He is sitting on a haul of damaging data on pharmaceutical, finance and energy companies. He has information on everything from BP to an Albanian oil firm that attempted to sabotage competitors’ wells.
The United States is running it’s juggernaut criminal investigation system through the embassy leaks, hunting for ways to bring Assange down and drag him through their justice system. So far they have been unsuccessful. The White House branded those who released the documents “criminals, first and foremost”, but US authorities have publicly filed no charges against Assange as of yet.
While the US government is hunting Assange, he has been offered permanent residency by South American nation Ecuador in order for them to protect him and allow him to continue running & publishing Wikileaks uninhibited.
Currently in British Custody awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden to face potentially bogus rape charges, Assange was quoted in The London Times as saying “You only live once, why not do something worthwhile?”
He also quoted Oscar Wilde back in 1997 when he co-authored a book called Underground: ‘Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier’ In the introduction he quoted; “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
Assange is apparently being held in the same cell as Oscar Wilde was held in on charges of sodomy and gross indecency in 1895.
Another Apex of this Hypocrisy is that credit card companies Visa, Mastercard and Paypal have all denied their users the right to donate financially to Wikileaks using their services, however members are still allowed to contribute to publications such as time magazine & other news publications that republish wikileaks publications word for word! This prompted a cyber attack from the global activist group Anonymous who took down the servers of the credit card companies for almost a day and also crashed a Swiss bank account belonging to Assange that had been frozen due to the sexual assault charges.
It was good to see that free speech is alive and well in our country, with several side arguments flaring up around the crowd. All were well handled, well argued and ended non violently and to be perfectly honest the most of the arguments in the crowd were more interesting to listen to than the speakers. It is nice to see South Australia bearing the torch of freedom and free speech and the right to uncensored information.
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