Sunday, 5 December 2010

Assange and Australia

Well the debate over Wikileaks does not look like it will die down any time soon. The one thing that I've noticed is that "cablegate" (God I hate that '-gate' suffix) seems to have angered people in some way that makes little sense to me.

For some reason posting all of those Iraq war documents was ok for some reason but leaking diplomatic cables? He should be executed. I've noticed that on the JREF as well and it seems to defy logic. Then again logic seems to go out the window when thousands of diplomatic cables are leaked to the world.

But that brings me to the point of this post. The ABC reported that Assange believes that Australia has abandoned him. Or as he put it on the Guardian Q&A with him:

I am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal. However, during the last weeks the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the attorney general, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return is impossible but that they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people. This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian citizen - does that mean anything at all? Or are we all to be treated like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties.

Although the possibility exists that Assange may have broken Australian law when it comes to leaking some documents (the ACMA blacklist comes to mind), I don't see how leaking US diplomatic cables are a violation of US law.

What disturbs me more is that we have foreign politicians calling for Assange to be executed/assassinated and we have not heard a single thing from the Government. No "don't assassinate our citizens" or anything like that. Basically the Government have thrown Assange to the wolves.

It is here where I can see the parallels to David Hicks. While countries like the UK and France were getting their citizens out of Guantanamo Bay the Australian Government did nothing for David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib were left to rot in that prison because the Government at the time had more important people to worry about like Schapelle Corby or Bali 9 or Van Tuong Nguyen.

The impression at the time was that the Australian Government cares more about drug traffickers then people accused of being terrorists. Now it seems the Government prefers to look the other way when politicians and pundits from other countries are calling for the death of one of their own citizens.

It does make you question whether there is any point in being able to claim that you're an Australian.

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