January 29th Launceston
Address by Bob McMahon
History is written by the winners. Hitler said it. I’m sure many others down the centuries have thought and said the same. It is nothing new. Many a despot, politician, general and government have attempted to manage the historical record for his and its own ends.
It’s not just about history either. The urge to secrecy right across the political spectrum, and in government, is endemic. The formula runs like this. The more you’ve got to hide the more likely you are to hide it.
In other words, the more contempt you have for the people, the more you pander to vested interests, to the big end of town, the more personal and systemic corruption there is, the more deals that are done behind closed doors, the more incompetent and wasteful government and the public services are, then the greater the urge to secrecy, lies, spin and to the restriction of access to internet and social networks and access to information in general. (Look at all the exemptions to FOI in Tasmania – cabinet documents, commercial-in-confidence, forestry etc.)
So that when information leaks out by whatever means – whether it’s the Steve Kons shredded letter that Kim Booth brandished to such devastating effect in the Tasmanian parliament, whether it’s the Palestine papers currently being released by the al Jazeera news network detailing the collusion between the Palestine Authority and the Israeli secret service, or whether it’s Julian Assange and Wikileaks and the host of other information networks being established around the world – we must give our full support.
Because we are in the midst of a war, ladies and gentlemen. That war is perpetual. It is a war against government lies, spin, corruption, secrecy, obfuscation and bullshit. That war, ladies and gentlemen, goes by the name of democracy.
Democracy is not some state of grace one obtains through divine dispensation or philosophical purity. Democracy is a process. It is the endless struggle towards an open society against those who would close it.
Democracy is a very messy business and we are in it up to our necks here in Tasmania and that is a good thing.
It is the same business Julian Assange is in but for him it comes at much greater personal danger and cost.
Julian Assange is an Australian citizen. He is also a citizen of the world. To the American government and its toadies like Sweden and Australia, let it be understood that support for Assange and Wikileaks is Australia wide and it is worldwide.
Hands off! Rather than shooting the messenger get your own houses in order.
CIVIL LIBERTIES AUSTRLIA on Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
Received from CLA President Kris Klugman OAM and CEO Bill Rowlings
Presented by Jim Collier to a Public Rally Launceston in support of Assange & Wikileaks.
29th January 2011
CIVIL LIBERTIES AUSTRALIA unreservedly supports Julian Assange’s right to operate as a journalist/blogger and to post leaked material online. By doing so he commits no legitimate offence we’re aware of in the USA or Australia.
In fact he is following in a proud US tradition, along the lines of Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with leaker ‘Deep Throat’ in the Nixon era and the now revered leaker Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers at the time of the Vietnam War.
If the person who leaked the material to Assange has broken a US law it would be the same law that leaker Ellsberg would have broken in the case of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 during 1971 and …Ellsberg is now a US hero.
IF Assange himself has broken a US law it would be the same law that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke in the Watergate-Deep Throat case which led to the impeachment and departure in disgrace of President Richard Nixon.
Both journalists are American heroes with at least one movie and many books about them and their leaking/reporting ways.
What was the problem in both the Pentagon Papers and Watergate cases?
US military and Administration official were caught lying!
As regards Assange and the Australian Government;
CIVIL LIBERTIES AUSTRALIA is alarmed that a government can so readily abandon an Australian citizen as Prime Minister Gillard and Attorney-General appeared to do at the outset of this matter.
CIVIL LIBERTIES AUSTRALIA recalls how even extremely conservative Australians eventually rebelled and forced the Howard Liberal Government to do something to help David Hicks, whom that government had abandoned to fabricated American laws and prison-without-reason at the Guantanamo Bay hellhole in Cuba.
Now, it seems, the Gillard Labor Government is going one better and refusing to stand up for an Australian citizen whose only proven crime is being a good journalist/blogger.
It makes you wonder what is the value of an Australian passport if the Australian Government’s first response is to try to help a foreign power find a charge to lay against an Australian passport holder.
CIVIL LIBERTIES AUSTRALIA would prefer the Australian Government spent its resources assisting Assange defend possibly fabricated sex crimes being made against him.
REMEMBER, they were made once, them dropped by a Swedish prosecutor and only recently reinstated by another prosecutor at the time of the latest leaks.
CIVIL LIBERTIES AUSTRALIA would like to nominate Julian Assange for AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR 2011: he has done more to eliminate lies, deceit, humbug and hubris in international affairs than anyone in the Gillard (or, for that matter, Howard) Governments or in …the US Government!
The US might decide to charge Assange with sedition, historically a charge laid at the whim of English kings, this is a political ‘offence’ not used in the USA for half a century and one formally and officially discredited in Australia by a change in legislation in 2010!
Download letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard: