9 Dec 2010

Peter Tatchell demands that Julian Assange is freed from jail.

Hands off WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

Exposing US government duplicity and abuses is the morally right thing to do

Protest to your MP and MEPs via this website: www.writetothem.com

Sign the AVAAZ online petition: http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl

London - 9 December 2010

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

Contrary to what the US government keeps claiming, the WikiLeaks revelations have not put anyone's life in danger. They have, however, exposed two-faced, dirty diplomacy by the US and US support for human rights abuses - a good and honourable thing to do. Hands off WikiLeaks!

The sex charges against Julian Assange came after WikiLeaks earlier this year embarrassed the US by exposing its war crimes and cover-ups in Iraq. Mere coincidence? I doubt it.

Julian Assange is accused of rape. These allegations must be taken seriously. He might be guilty of sex crimes. If so, he should face prosecution, just like anyone else. But the charges look like a fix to silence and discredit him. What is beyond question is that some top people in the US are out for revenge. They want to destroy Assange and WikiLeaks.

Has the US framed Julian Assange? In the 1970s, they tried to discredit the heroic Vietnam war whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. A plan was hatched to portray him as mentally unstable. Are the charges against Assange a re-run of what they tried to do to Ellsberg? Maybe.

The decision by a British judge to deny bail to Julian Assange is vindictive and disgraceful. Assange is not a dangerous, hardened criminal. He should have got bail. People charged with robberies, assaults and sexual crimes are often bailed. Why the hardline denial of bail in Assange's case?

Is the judge an establishment stooge? Was he pressured to detain Assange in prison or did he feel, of his own free will, that it was his duty to support his vengeful establishment friends by refusing to bail Assange?

Perhaps the judge truly and sincerely believes that Assange is a grave threat to public order and national security - and to the safety of women - who cannot be allowed his freedom until he is extradited and put on trial? If so, the judge has lost not only his moral bearings but his sense of reality and proportion.

Major war criminals and human rights abusers roam free. No judges dare touch them. But a non-violent campaigner like Assange feels the full force of the law. Double standards or what?

The attacks on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are a freedom of expression and freedom of information issue. It's all about the lack of government accountability, honesty and transparency. This is a battle between state secrecy and misinformation on the one hand, and the public's right to know on the other hand.

Stop the witch-hunt and censorship of WikiLeaks. The US-inspired blocking of donations to Wikileaks and the attempts to deny WikiLeaks internet access are outrageous.

Congratulations to Operation Payback and the Anonymous hacktivists. They are right to hit back at the people who have attempted to drive WikiLeaks off the internet, cut its funding and who have frozen Assange's bank account. This suppression and censorship have to be resisted, by any non-violent means necessary.

We, the people, have a right to know what governments are secretly saying and doing, often in our name and allegedly in our interests. The government, police, security services and judges are our servants. We are not their minions to be manipulated and hoodwinked by the US government or by anyone else.

All power to WikiLeaks for shining a light on the duplicity of the US government. Thanks to WikiLeaks we now have clear evidence that the US frequently says one thing in public and something different in private - and that it cosies up to tyrants, and ignores or acquiesces in human rights abuses. Bravo WikiLeaks and Julian Assange!

· Protest against the witch-hunt of WikiLeaks and Julain Assange to your MP and MEPs via this website: www.writetothem.com

· Sign the AVAAZ online petition: http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl

See also Index on Censorship: http://www.indexoncensorship.org/

ENDS

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