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Friday, December 10, 2010

Wikileaks: Aussie Protests In Streets; May Riot?, by Greg Tingle - 11th December 2010

Wikileaks continues to draw national and international attention with its ongoing bombshells on diplomatic scandals, war strategy secrets and the like. The arrest of its founder, Julian Assang, two days ago on rape charges has many Aussies up in arms and they have taken their voice to the streets with a series of public protests. The buzz in 'Sin City' Sydney is that riots may follow! Readers will recall us forecasting great public disappointment in the way Australia was being run, with cover ups and political scandal been a key reason for Aussies getting severely pissed off. It's the Wikipedia lovers VS the Wiki haters (mainly some politicians and diplomatics). Media Man and Gambling911 with the latest from the mean streets on 'Sin City' down under...

Most journalists, newsrooms, and Australians in general (plus gamers and gamblers) are with Assange. Why? How about because its about freedom of information and Wikileaks itself has not broken any laws, however at least a couple of its informers - leakers have.

The free flow of information (and ideas) is a human right under United Nations law. It's this free flow of data, often published by Wikileaks, that has made the Aussie government look like a pile of crap (that may long suspected, but couldn't prove)... now the proof is out there kids.

We and most newsrooms think that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has royally screwed up with her public comment on Wikileaks: "I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It is a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do.". What the hell was Gillard thinking. Perhaps she was just pandering to the United States government. Why? They don't have much or any credibility left, so why the heck bother.

Western governments continue to panic at red face level, are increasingly demanding for Assange's animal to be halted or "killed" as WikiLeaks continues to publish more than 250,000 confidential documents from the United States State Department, but its easier said than done. 'Our Julian' and his world class team have dozens of mirror websites on a number of domain names, so the .com is gone, but the other octopus tentacles are swimming the world's oceans like nobodies business. If they Chinese are staying pretty quite on the matter, despite being named and shamed in a number of wires. Ex Aussie PM Rudd mid week stayed on political message with a reply to the harsh comments a number of U.S diplomatics made about him. "Water off a ducks back". Ruddy, are you sure you the duck, are not known as the royal goose. You were running this country a few years ago, or so Australia's were led to believe. Did you lead as astray? That's right. It's the Labor Government, riddled with scandal, so of course you were!

Now, the guts and balls of the latest is protests, that may turn to riots!

Hundreds of pissed on Australians gathered in 3 cities yesterday to protest against the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Roughly 500 people gathered in Melbourne, 400 or so in 'Sin City' Sydney and 200 approx in Brisbane for the rallies which coincided perfectly with International Human Rights Day.

Our friend in the UK, Richard Branson, is big on human rights, as his community arm, Virgin Unite, along with 'Every Human Has Rights', and Media Man has previously tipped them off on a number of scandals in the Aussie Labor government, and now strong evidence has surfaced on some of the allegations that Media Man put forward. Yep, it look Like P.M Gillard will be going down for the count.

Some protesters wore face masks as they marched, knowing 'Big Brother' was watching with video cameras on just about every street corner, plus satellite eyes in the sky. The protesters were chanting and waving banners calling for the release of Assange.

'Mr Wikipedia' is being held in custody in London, wanted in Sweden for alleged sexual assault. Note it's a big "alleged".

"The reason why Julian Assange is facing a sex assault charge... is to de-mobilise public support," a protester cared to share.

"Julian Assange is a contemporary hero and we must all rally for him and for the cause."

Another protester said she was a survivor of sexual abuse.

"I know what it is to not be listened to and not be believed. I am standing here today and I am saying free Julian Assange," she said.

"Feminists for free speech are saying loud and clear they will not use our struggle against sexual assault in their struggle against freedom of speech."

Among the speakers to address the Melbourne rally was Assange's Melbourne-based legal eagle Rob Stary, who said the Federal Government should be ashamed of its approach to the matter at hand.

"What we need to do is continue to agitate publicly, we need to agitate with our so-called political representatives, to expose the sham of all this, to support WikiLeaks, to support Julian Assange, to show greater transparency and greater accountability," he said.

Up north in Bris Vegas - Brisbane, Peter Russo, the legal eagle for Dr Mohammad Haneef who was accused of supporting terrorism while working at a Gold Coast hospital, addressed the wild eyed rally.

He was adamant that freedom of society was at stake and called for due process to be followed in court.

"It's an important occasion because it's important that we understand that really what's at stake here is freedom, and it's not only the freedom of the individual, it's the freedom of all of us," he said.

Former Democrats senator and Greens candidate Andrew Bartlett told the fired up rally the Aussie public needs to send a strong message to governments across the globe about what he said was the persecution of 'Mr Wikileaks' Assange.

"We do not accept and we do not support governments using their power to persecute individuals, using corporate power, abusing and misusing the law, calling publicly for individuals who've not even been accused of any crime to be assassinated, to be called a terrorist," he said.

Greens party Upper House MP Lee Rhiannon, well known to Bondi Beach based social and community entrepreneurs, was in the mix at the Sydney rally to bash the Federal Government's stance against WikiLeaks.

"Now we have seen over the years from successive Coalition and Labor governments doing whatever the US administration wants. So right now Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland have really gone too far. Ms Gillard, shame. Absolute shame."

Australian shadow communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, member for Wentworth (and political king of Bondi Beach), a former internet entrepreneur himself has a lot to say (and write) on the Wikileaks matter, and his relent history in these type of things, and we thank MT for allowing up to republish part of with full credit to the man himself...

There are many reactions to the Wikileaks disclosures. More than twenty years ago in the Spycatcher litigation I successfully argued for a former MI5 officer’s right to publish his memoirs, and, in part, on the basis that their disclosure showed the British Government had engaged in criminal activities.

However it is fair to say that we also argued that there was no current operational material in the book, that we had offered it to the British Government to be blue-pencilled (to remove any such material) and in any event almost all of it was no longer confidential having been previously published (with the connivance of MI6).

So this material is very different from Peter Wright’s memoirs and in many respects is quite unique; the only comparable disclosure being Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers. Mr Assange is being denounced just about everywhere and has gone so far as to claim that Australia has abandoned them. That is not, and should not, be the case.

I note that my colleague Senator George Brandis has described Mr Assange’s actions as morally reprehensible but not legally actionable, and I am sure that is right. I cannot see how he could be said to have breached any Australian law and I understand that it is not alleged he has broken any American law.

Mr Assange is free to return to Australia and if he is charged with a crime overseas then he would be entitled to consular assistance.

So his claims of being "abandoned" by Australia seem rather melodramatic. On the other hand the Prime Minister’s clumsy accusations of criminal activity on the part of Mr Assange just reinforce the impression that in this, as in so many other areas, she is way out of her depth.

So, having said that, what are we to make of Mr Assange’s conduct?

Governments will always seek to suppress leaks of information, especially if they contain embarrassing information. There is a public interest in shedding more light on the activities of Government. (Turnbull's full article is located on his official website for interested readers).

Assange, an Australian citizen, recently published an opinion piece in Rupert Murdoch's The Australian newspaper. An excerpt from a preview begins, "In 1958, a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win."

Media Man also tips that Murdoch and / or Assange fans (or anti fans) should check out the movies 'They Live', 'The Net', 'The Running Man', 'Black & White', 'Citizen Kane' and 'The Shawshank Redemption' for further insight into the media and legal systems. Social media fans will also enjoy 'The Social Network' which focuses on 'Facebook', who has also also seen a lot of legal and media action since they first hit the web, even before the world caught the internet bug, with most getting hooked into the information pandoras box.

Wikileaks: Wonderful or wicked? You be the judge, jury and executioner.

How did you find the report today? Offer your opinion in the Gambling911 forum.

If you have a bet, bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a Special Contributor to the Gambling911.com website and proprietor of Media Man International

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They also offer political analysis.

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