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Home » , , , » Julian Assange confronts Julia Gillard

Julian Assange confronts Julia Gillard

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on March 20, 2011 | 9:49 AM

Julian Assange.
“We have intelligence that your government has been exchanging information with foreign powers about Australian citizens working for WikiLeaks,” Julian Assange told Prime Minister Julia Gillard in his video question as part of ABC's Q&A on March 14.
Assange's question came after Gillard had said: “I can respect whistleblowing if your motivation is to right wrong.” But she said she did not see any “moral purpose ... at the centre of WikiLeaks”.
Gillard said she didn't have a “great deal of respect” for Assange and described his motivation as “sort of anarchic”.
Assange has made clear his motivation many times: it's actually “sort of” about open government — creating transparency and accountability.

Assange asked Gillard: “When will you come clean about precisely what information you have supplied the foreign powers about Australian citizens working or affiliated with WikiLeaks and if you cannot give a full and frank answer to that question, should perhaps the Australian people consider charging you with treason?”
Stalling, Gillard first giggled and then made a joke before she said: “I don't know anything [about Assange’s claim] ... To my knowledge it hasn't happened.”
However, Gillard did say: “We exchange information about Australian citizens with foreign governments, yes, we do sometimes.”
Examples she gave included: “Following up transnational crimes like people smuggling, following up transnational crimes like drug trafficking, following up like transnational crimes like terrorism, of course we exchange information."
So which is Assange? A people smuggler? Not quite. Drug trafficker? That'd be a new accusation. Terrorist? Well, many US ultra-conservatives seem to think so.
During the program, Gillard also told the audience, “a confident America is good for the world". It is safe to assert that most of the world would “confidently” disagree.



Audience member Ruby Hamad asked Gillard to explain her behaviour while visiting the United States. Hamad said “millions of Australians cringed” while they watched Gillard's “gushing” speech to the US Congress.
Gillard responded: “I did want to say ‘be bold’, which I think is amongst the best of the American traditions, that sense of can-do, which actually led them to the moon.”
Not just the moon! What about Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan? The US has been there too! And was it that bold, can-do tradition that led the US to supply Indonesia with weapons during its massacre of the people of East Timor and ongoing occupation of West Papua?
Is it US “boldness” that explains the US’s continued support for Israel's brutal oppression of the Palestinians?
If that “great American tradition” of being bold is behind the aforementioned, then perhaps it would be better to not encourage such boldness in future.
On the day she took office, Gillard said: “I am utterly committed to the service of our people.” Well, as the ALP campaign slogan of 1972 said: “It's time”.
It's time to say no more to the Australian government joining in with the persecution of our citizens abroad, such as David Hicks, Mamdouh Habib and now, Julian Assange.
It's time to accept the new frontier of free information and transparent, accountable governments.
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