Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Has PM Julia Gillard Gone Bonkers ?

Whether you vote for Labor or the Coalition parties in Australia (both right of centre parties), the latest announcements by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland should ring alarm bells and raise questions not only about their fitness to lead but whether these 2 lawyers really understand  the law.

The number of trained lawyers in the Australian Parliament is estimated to be around 60% of the elected representatives. Government is about making and producing law. But if those making the law do not understand it, where do we stand ?.

The case of Julian Assange goes beyond the usual rhetoric and daily news cycle that we are all subject to and which our politicians hopelessly play to.

Assange-whatever anyone thinks of him , is no different to the dozens of journalists from the New York Times. De Spiegel and Australia's New Ltd publications who have published the Wikileak's material. Indeed, most of the world's newspapers and media outlets published before Wilkileaks did.

In a country that usually stands up for the underdog and the so-called 'fair go', for Gillard to publicly and ignorantly announce that Assange has committed 'illegal' acts ( of which she now refuses to reveal what she thinks those acts are) and for McClelland, who time and time again has proven himself to be the Labor Party's greatest disappointment after the Howard years of lawlessness with his "business a usual" attitude, to call for an Australian Federal Police investigation into 'illegal' acts (not one of which he can think of)  really is beyond the pale.

(Does anyone remember how during the Howard years the Australian Wheat Board paid over $200M in bribes to Saddam Hussein -money undoubtedly used to purchase weapons to kill Australian and Allied soldiers and how former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer professed ignorance of dozens of emails informing him of these illegal bribes for which not one single person has been charged ?)

Numerous media pundits and US politicians have called for Assange's assassination.

The Wilkileaks cables reveal that US Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, a recent guest in Australia, called for US diplomats to illegally steal UN Officials (including Australian diplomats) credit card details. These are admissions of a conspiracy to commit the crimes of theft and  murder.

Of course we all know that Gillard and McClelland are gutlessly parroting the US line. And that is what is so depressing. Is it any wonder that former Prime Minister Paul Keating once refered to us as the "arse end of the world".

In about 1 hour The Australian newspaper will publish a special editorial penned by Julian Assange. The following letter has been sent to  Prime Minister Gillard and appeared tonight on the ABC TV website.

 Dear Prime Minister,

We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.
Noam Chomsky
Jeffrey T Kuhner- "Kill Him!"
Julian Burnside QC
We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times.

William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?

Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.

“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.

Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.

And so on and so forth.

Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).

In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing.

Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him.

As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

                                                                                             .....continued at The Real News