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Featured, News - Written by Vijith Vazhayil, Chillibreeze on Thursday, March 1, 2012 8:39 - 48 Comments
Greens demand Govt protect Assange
news The Government and the Opposition took squirming to new heights recently while handling — or rather not handling — the threat of prosecution faced by Australian citizen and WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange in the USA, a media release put out by the Australian Greens yesterday.
The party’s critical reactions came after its communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam questioned the Government about the latest WikiLeaks revelations and what the Government knew of the sealed grand jury indictment against Assange, and both questions drew a blank.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that according to a confidential e-mail obtained from private US security organisation Stratfor, US prosecutors drew up secret charges against Assange more than a year ago. In an internal e-mail to Stratfor analysts on January 26, 2011, the vice president of intelligence, Fred Burton, revealed that “We have a sealed indictment on Assange.” The information, apparently from a US government source, comes with warnings ‘not for publication’ and ‘please protect’.
“Either the Government has been kept ignorant by their American allies for thirteen months, or they have been keeping the sealed indictment a secret from the Australian public. The Government says they are not aware of any charges by the US Government against Mr Assange. Let’s assume, then, that they’ve been kept in the dark for more than a year by Washington, which is hardly reassuring,” the media release said.
“Asked if the Prime Minister will ascertain whether this sealed indictment against an Australian citizen exists—the Government had no answer. Asked what the Government would do if the US attempted to extradite Mr Assange, the Government had no answer.”
In a senate speech yesterday, Senator Ludlam said: “There is a fierce campaign afoot to destroy WikiLeaks: to discredit Mr Assange and his associates and colleagues and to set the organisation back—in fact, to simply destroy it.” He said: “We need to know what the role of the Australian government in this has been” and added that a series of freedom of information requests he initiated last year about why it was so difficult to disclose this kind of information were stonewalled, blocked, and met with excuses. He called on the Australian government to come clean on what it knows.
Senator Ludlam later moved a motion for the Senate to acknowledge that Mr Assange had been recognised as a journalist by organisations including the Walkley Foundation and the British High Court. “This was too frightening for the Labor Party and the Coalition. They sat there and voted against a list of seven undisputed facts. What could have got them so spooked?” asked the Greens media release.
The news of the secret indictment comes as Assange awaits a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden in relation to sexual assault allegations. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges in retaliation for WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked US classified military and diplomatic reports.
I am personally highly ambivalent about Julian Assange. I do not personally believe that he is a journalist — what ethical journalist would report on information that had been obtained from a company by means of hacking its internal database, as rogue Internet group Anonymous appears to have done with Stratfor? None. It is unethical for journalists to report on material which has been illegally obtained. Furthermore, with some of the material which Wikileaks has released, it is far from clear that there is a public interest in it being released.
However, Ludlam is right. Assange is an Australian citizen and must be afforded all of the protections such status offers. The fact that the Australian Government is not actively seeking to protect the Wikileaks founder is frightening for those of us who also seek to release confidential information in the public interest, and a damning indictment of our lack of strength when dealing with our American allies.
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Dec 5, 2013 13:41 - 0 Comments
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Featured, News, Telecommunications - Dec 4, 2013 15:18 - 45 Comments
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Digital Rights, News - Dec 5, 2013 14:08 - 18 Comments
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