Sarah Palin wants Julian Assange hunted as a terrorist.1 She’s among a swelling chorus of American politicians calling for the arrest – and even the death – of the Australian citizen who runs Wikileaks. It’s a shame that real terrorists, the kind we should be focusing our attention on, don’t show up at British Police stations with their lawyers, as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange did yesterday.
Here in Australia, Prime Minister Gillard pre-emptively judged Mr. Assange "illegal," even as the Attorney General confirmed that no Australian nor international crime by wikileaks has been identified.2
The death penalty? Judgment before trial? This isn’t the kind of justice system we have in Australia. If our Government won’t stand up for the rights of Australian citizens, let’s do it ourselves.
We’re printing ads in the Washington Times and the New York Times with the statement our Government should have made, signed by as many Australians as possible. Will you add your name to the signatories, and invite your friends to join too?
Dear President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder:
We, as Australians, condemn calls for violence, including assassination, against Australian citizen and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, or for him to be labeled a terrorist, enemy combatant or be treated outside the ordinary course of justice in any way.
As Thomas Jefferson said, "information is the currency of democracy."3 Publishing leaked information in collaboration with major news outlets, as Wikileaks and Mr. Assange have done, is not a terrorist act.
Australia and the United States are the strongest of allies. Our soldiers serve side by side and we’ve experienced, and condemned, the consequences of terrorism together. To label Wikileaks a terrorist organisation is an insult to those Australians and Americans who have lost their lives to acts of terrorism and to terrorist forces.
If Wikileaks or their staff have broken international or national laws, let that case be heard in a just and fair court of law. At the moment, no such charges have been brought.
We are writing as Australians to say what our Government should have said: that all Australian citizens deserve to be free from persecution, threats of violence and detention without charge, especially from our friend and ally, the United States.
We call upon you to stand up for our shared democratic principles of the presumption of innocence and freedom of information.
We’re printing this statement in the Washington Times and the New York Times early next week – and the more Australians sign, the more powerful the message will be. Please add your name by clicking below, and forward this message to friends and family:
What has started with WikiLeaks being branded as terrorists won’t end there.
In fact, just yesterday U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, Chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, said that the New York Times should also be investigated under the U.S. Espionage Act for publishing a number of the diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks.4 We can help stop such plans in their tracks, by showing how they are affecting the image of the US in the eyes of their staunchest friends and allies.
Click here to sign the statement before it’s published in the New York Times and Washington Times.
Thanks for being part of this,
the GetUp team.
1 Beckford, M., ‘Sarah Palin: hunt WikiLeaks founder like al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders’, The Telegraph, 30 November 2010.
2 Oakes, L., ‘Oakes: Gillard gushes over US leaks’, Perth Now, 4 December 2010.
3 The quote is widely attributed to Jefferson, but some now dispute whether he actually said it. We know, at least, that he said "knowledge is power," even if Francis Bacon did say it first.
4 Savage, C., ‘U.S. prosecuters study WikiLeaks prosecution’, The New York Times, 7 December 2010.