Just Released: Julian Assange Op-Ed In The Australian

Tyler Durden's picture

Just released in The Australian

Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths

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."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.

People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.

If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these things freely.

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be "taken out" by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be "hunted down like Osama bin Laden", a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a "transnational threat" and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.

Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not.

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some startling facts:

  • The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.
  • King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.
  • Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran's nuclear program stopped by any means available.
  • Britain's Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect "US interests".
  • Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.
  • The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government". The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.

Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

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BobPaulson's picture

I wonder how much was spent on setting this guy up for the charges they pinned to him. At least now he's getting more press.

Clayton Bigsby's picture

he's just lucky we got to him before he really pissed off someone like the russians - my money says they would have just vanished his ass and that would have been the end of it

BobPaulson's picture

I think his big mistake was letting them make Wikileaks be about him. Perhaps that would have been hard to prevent but it seems the guy is foolishly enjoying the limelight.

chumbawamba's picture

Or perhaps, after sitting around watching all the bullshit being thrown at us go unchallenged and hoping for someone to do what needs to be done, he grew tired of waiting and has decided to take it upon himself.

And not a whiff of gratitude for it.  For shame.

I am Chumbawamba.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Nice to see you slumming around ZH again my friend.

chumbawamba's picture

Thanks for holding down the fort, good friend.

DaveyJones's picture

good to see you. well said as usual. History is just as much made of individuals as it is trends

Real Estate Geek's picture

check the spelling of his name, CD.  IIRC, the original was chumbawUmba

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Nope, this is the one and only chumbawamba. I asked for a DNA sample and he peed in my hands to prove to me he's the real thing.

Brings new meaning to the term ZH golden shower. :>)

Secunda's picture

  Good comment. The Press needs to do a better job of being skeptical and get back to good old-fashioned muck-raking.

  But I disagree a bit.

  There is a big difference between investigative reporting and stealing information. Assange has hurt at least one person: PFC Manning. That guy is facing decades in jail for answering Assange's tempting siren song to be an informant. Manning could have gone to the NYT, Der Speigel, or any one of a number of legitimate news outlets and had himself (as a source) protected somewhat. 

  If you had a letter to a lover stolen by the mail carrier and subsequently published in the local newspaper that your spouse read daily how would you feel? Violated? Ripped-off?

 

 

 

hugomarch's picture

Well intentioned paragraph but now for the facts.  wikileaks has a full proof information submission system.  PFC Manning spilled the beans himself (bragged) in an online chat with a hacker-cum-informant. 

hugomarch's picture

Well intentioned paragraph but now for the facts.  wikileaks has a full proof information submission system.  PFC Manning spilled the beans himself (bragged) in an online chat with a hacker-cum-informant. 

hugomarch's picture

Wow - wikileak tweets down to a trickle.  It's a dark day for the spilling of classified information. 

Z's picture

Try this on for size: http://cryptome.org/0001/assange-cpunks.htm

 

[edit: condom pun unintentional]

Morbo's picture

A LOT I suspect! Consider though that they can find a 30-something hiding out for breaking a condom during a Swedish sexual interlude but "they" still can't find a guy needing continuous kidney dialysis  named Osama bin Laden... Ya gots ta have ya priorities dammit!

mediahuset's picture

keep it up I have to agree. This is great site which provides a valuable and exhausting information! Many thanks for your work

mediahuset nova as

b_thunder's picture

But in mid-1990s the same Rupert Murdoch decided that in the race between truth and profits, profits win.

LFMayor's picture

He didn't sell out man... he bought in! ;)

Bob's picture

It's back up now, but this is only the first at-bat of the first inning.  This will not turn out well for TPTB, imo.  An entire generation or two have been primed by lifetimes of movies and video games to commit to this cause:

With the financial noose tightening around WikiLeaks even as a legal one tightens around its founder's neck, Operation Payback has effectively declared war on the organizations working to hobble WikiLeaks.

"In these modern times, Internet access is fast becoming a basic human right," the group says in a video posted to YouTube. "Just like any other basic human right, we believe it is wrong to infringe upon it."

 

GOOD LUCK SKYNET . . .

DaveyJones's picture

been thinkin along those lines. The young, the ones the most screwed by these lies and theft, are the ultimate masters of these weapons and the new battlefield has little to do with caves, heroin, and desert 

Duuude's picture

 

Lisbeth Salander

 

Julia's picture

With this Operation Payback org, I don't think there will be any problem in getting the rest of the data out if anything happens to Julian.

ajax's picture

I reiterate from an earlier post:

Here's a bit more from the Swiss end of this story:

http://genevalunch.com/blog/2010/12/06/wikileaks-founder-tells-world-hes...

Funny thing about CH Postfinance accounts: all illegal Brazilian and African "cabaret artistes" seem to get them easily enough as well as illegal Central American "mains-d'oeuvre" and Assange had one too in spite of that little exaggeration about 'living' in Geneve but now Postfinance has changed its mind about the most famous Australian on the planet...

Accidental Farmer's picture

Just like Alan Greenspan - He used to be a strong defender of the gold standard. Look what that wrinkled turd turned in to.

kridkrid's picture

I want to believe.  Cynicism has a slippery slope.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Believing doesn't mean you must believe the entire meme. You can understand that the messenger is corrupt but the data is good. Or both are good. Or both are corrupt. There are many permutations to recognize.

The problem comes when we wish to have our explanations served up already chewed and easily digestible. Is you life uncomplicated? I doubt it. So why would the "truth" be simple and easy to understand. It's our expectations that are distorted, not reality or the method is delivery.

Bob's picture

Bingo.  I can't understand why this notion amounts to rocket science for many . . . but I spose that's my expectations speaking.  It is what it is.

ajax's picture

 

"It is what it is"? What the f--- does that mean exactly for anyone who doesn't spend their time in some burb in California? It is what it is which is a lazy unthinking person's excuse for not having to grow up and learn how to read and write and think for his/her self and take part in a community without which we are all doomed because quite simply no one is alone in any of this f---ing mess. Stockpiles of gold, beans, Evian water, bad grammar and solipsisms are really not all that helpful Mr. USA.   

kridkrid's picture

Yeah... I'm with you and I agree with you, but one permutation to recognize is, of course, that we are seeing exactly what we are supposed to see.  If that is the case, it doesn't really matter how much of it is true, no?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

...but one permutation to recognize is, of course, that we are seeing exactly what we are supposed to see.

This is the one constant truth in the world. And a great place to start. I don't mean believe nothing. Just that a critical eye must be applied both to what we're being told as well as who is delivering and the context.

Max Hunter's picture

correct CD. This is why i'm very suspicious and will reserve my acceptance of these "leaks" until I see who they benefit..

Z's picture

Best position at the moment.

Everything leading up to the endgame is just pretense.

Drachma's picture

My questions would be:

1. What exactly did Assange reveal that we did not know from other sources already?

2. On what basis do people make the assumption that Assange's data hacks are not tainted with false 'secrets'. This is an age-old military tactic. Hasn't anyone ever heard of the phrases "War is deception." or "PsyOp"?

3. Has anyone honestly researched the background of this newly minted prophet of the people? Think, Anne Hamilton Byrne cult out of Melbourne Australia.

4. Why is my state-sponsored propaganda ministry called the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) spending an unusual amount of time on Assange, national security and the dangers of the Internet?

5. Why does it seem that a lot of the CIA-style spin in these data dumps gives Obama justification for continued invasions into Iran and Pakistan.

6. And then there is this headline out of the Atalantic, "Lebanese Newspaper Puiblishes U.S. Cables Not Found on Wikileaks". http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/lebanese-newspa...

There is just too much linear thinking when it comes to this guy Assange and it's being coddled along by the MSM. Hacked CIA = Hero of the People, or Hacked CIA = Enemy of the State. Let's keep everyone debating nonsense while the banksters take down your livelihood and gut what little remains of your rights and freedoms. Perfect distractions.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

There is just too much linear thinking when it comes to this guy Assange and it's being coddled along by the MSM.

The really good magician understands that the real "trick" of the magic trick is all in the mind. Present the meme to the subject in such a way that the subject will arrive at the "proper" conclusion. After all, we always believe ourselves when we've arrived at our own conclusions, right?

Drachma's picture

But reality can't be that intricate and nuanced, could it? I thought we were living on the set of Mary Poppins. Please tell me it's not all a lie. How do I break the news to my children?

blunderdog's picture

Perfect distractions.

Yeah, totally, WHATEVER you do, don't look at the cables.

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

What exactly did Assange reveal that we did not know from other sources already?

If that is true then you should be able to recite the entire contents of all cables including those that have not yet been released. Please begin.

 

On what basis do people make the assumption that Assange's data hacks are not tainted with false 'secrets'. This is an age-old military tactic. Hasn't anyone ever heard of the phrases "War is deception." or "PsyOp"?

As you claim to have previously known the content of the cables then you should already have an answer for this, right? Or were you lying about already knowing the entire contents of the cables?

 

Why does it seem that a lot of the CIA-style spin in these data dumps gives Obama justification for continued invasions into Iran and Pakistan.

Are you surprised that leaked US government documents present a US government viewpoint?

Drachma's picture

I don't exactly understand your first statement. Yes my question is a true question, I am not making a statement of fact. If you have a definitive answer to the question I have asked I am willing to listen. Your second statement builds on the thought convulsions of the first. But to answer your last question, of course I am not suprised that leaked government documents, as you claim, present a US government viewpoint among other information. I hope that helps. Lets just see how much better Assange has made all of our lives. Funny though you should use the word 'leaked'. Don't forget to give credit where credit is due, they were not leaked remember, they were hacked by the master hacker hero Assange. All hail Assange!

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

How are my first and second questions "convoluted?" If you claim that everybody already knows what is in the leaked cables then you should be able to tell me what is in each and every one of them. Your claim of knowledge of the cables implies that that knowledge represents true facts and so you should be able to discern if the cables include disinformation.

Mercury's picture

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Are you fucking serious? You think you invented primary source citation?

unwashedmass's picture

 

since no one does anything like that any more and it was just lying there abandonned on the side of the road, i don't see why not?

Bob's picture

There is a qualitative difference in web-based sourcing, in that it actively enables the reader to instantly check original cited source material in whole.  It's a major advance. 

redpill's picture

He doesn't just cite the source, he publishes the source, in it's entirety, and for immediate viewing online. Claims to inventing the practice might be a stretch, but regardless it's an important role.

Mercury's picture

It's an important role/major advance to the extent that you consider it a "startling fact" that bears are using the woods as a bathroom - which is what most Wikileaks journalism has so far amounted to.

Real Estate Geek's picture

+1 with respect to Wikileaks journalism, per se.  But considering the sorry state of MSM, which has devolved into nothing more than PR for TPTB, I'll take Wikileaks' journalism with a smile.