Saturday, June 2, 2012

Perth speak-out for Julian Assange

Despite bleak weather, almost fifty people took part in a speak-out protest on May 31 calling on the Australian government to "bring Julian Assange home". The protest took part the day after the British supreme court ruled that Assange, who was the founder of WikiLeaks, had to be extradited to Sweden.

Rally chairperson Chris Jenkins pointed out that "Sweden has not ruled out handing Julian Assange over to the US" where he faces danger due to a sealed indictment with unspecified allegations.

Assange is right to fear for his well being, and even his life, if he were ever taken in to US custody given the vitriolic attacks on him by US politicians. This is confirmed also by the treatment "amounting to torture" that has been meted out to Bradley Manning - an alleged source for WikiLeaks.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks spoke at the Sydney rally making the point that his experience demonstrated that the Australian government could not be relied on to support the interests of an Australian citizen locked up by the US.

Alex Bainbridge told the speak-out that WikiLeaks exposed government war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. He pointed out that not only Bush and Howard, but also Gillard and Obama are war criminals for their prosecution of illegal and unjust wars. He also said that Australian foreign minister Bob Carr was lining up to be the next war criminal as he joined in an international campaign against the authoritarian Assad government in Syria.

Kamala Emanuel told the Perth speak-out that governments of the world are "afraid of what will happen when we know what they've been up to."

"And the sorts of things they are up to includes rape and war crimes and they are ones who are responsible."

She pointed out that she was not there to denigrate Sweden's progressive rape laws but that "that is not what this issue is about".