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Julian Assange Challenges The Internet Generation

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Thank you so much for coming to this rally. Your presence here and your support in homes, workplaces, online and elsewhere is exactly what is needed to keep us strong. I really wish I could be with you in person. I can't wait to be back in Melbourne, where I have fond memories of taking a tram up Swanson street, dropping in at Trade's Hall, and having my favorite coffee at the new International bookshop. Though we are far apart at the moment, I follow news from home regularly. I've been heartened, not just by the stories of support for our organization, but the stories of courage and kindness every day Australians are showing to one another during the floods. That too is a matter of confort to all of us who believe in basic human decency. As a journalist, I am used to reporting the news, rather than addressing rallies. But these are not ordinary times. The times we are going through at the moment constitute a generational challenge The US civil rights struggles of the 1950's also constituted a generational challenge, as did the peace movement of the late 1960's, autonomous (?) movements in different periods of the 20th century, and the awakening of environmental consciousness that has taken hold in recent years. For the internet generation, this is our challenge, and this is our time. We support a cause that is no more radical a proposition than that the citizenry has a right to scrutinize the state. The state has asserted its authority by surveilling, monitoring and regimenting all of us, all the while hiding behind cloaks of security and opaqueness. Surely, it was only a matter of time before citizens pushed back and we asserted our rights. This brings me to another point. We at Wikileaks recognize the difference between secrecy and privacy. Individuals, not governments, have the right to privacy. Strong powers must be held to account while the weak must be protected. We believe in transparent power, not in transparent people. We publish material that is in the public interest. For us, as the European Court of Human Rights and the British Court of Appeals has held, the decisive factor in balancing the protection of private life against freedom of expression should lie in the contribution the material has to make to the debate of general interest. It is surely a matter of public interest that Australian politicians secretly briefed foreign embassies, in effect providing them with political intelligence on the Australian government, while concealing these vital facts from those who actually elected them to office. Wikileaks has brought this important information to the public. It is surely a matter of public interest that the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has been running a secret intelligence campaign directed at the leadership of the United Nations, demanding passwords, DNA, personal encryption keys, credit card numbers, e-mail addresses and so on. That targeting is illegal under the 1946 UN Convention on Privileges and Immunities, and illegal under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. And it is surely a matter of public interest that the Labour government has been secretly working to shield from prosecution Indonesian military figures who killed strangers (?) in East Timor. Wikileaks brought this information out to the public as well. It would appear that the Labour government today is doing what Labour did in 1975 regarding East Timor: talking about human rights while trying to downplay a tax on journalists. Because you and I should be in no doubt of one thing: we are a media organization, I am a publisher, I am a publisher and I am a journalist. I've been a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Australia's peak journalist's union, for years. I published my first book when I was 25. There has been outrageous and illegal calls to have me and my staff killed, clear cases of incitement to violence. And the Australian government has condoned this behavior by its diplomatic silence. I find it interesting that some politicians have no intention of applying the precautionary principle when it comes to the environment, but assert it when it comes to our reporting. They conjure up hypothetical scenarios, claim that somehow, some day, our stories might somehow harm someone somewhere. But we have a 4-year publishing history, a history of not harming a single individual anywhere. They provide no evidence of actual harm. So I say to you: that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without argument. And it is interesting how some politicians single out my staff and myself for attack while saying nothing about the slaughter of thousands by the US military or rather dictatorships, and saying nothing about other, much wealthier, powerful news organizations that published material in partnership with us. It is cowardly to bully a small media organization, but that is what is happening here. We are eternally grateful to your strong support in helping us stand up to the bullies. Julia Gillard should be taking active steps to bring me home and to protect our people. She should be contacting the US embassy and demanding that it back off. As for the future, we are as determined as ever. With your help and support, we will make our way through this storm and continue to publish and hold powerful and abusive organizations to account. I want to assure you that we will not mimic the timidity and subservience to power that some other media organizations have. If that is what it means to go mainstream, then we are happy staying where we are, at the front line of the truth. We will, as Don Chipp dreamed, "try to keep the bastards honest." We have been deeply moved by the concern Australians have shown for us. But I ask that you turn your concern into action. Insist that the attacks on my staff and organization stop. Insist that I be allowed to return home. Insist that the Australian government come clean on all its interactions with foreign powers in relation to our organization. Thank you for your good will. We will keep the faith with you, and you will keep us strong. [silence]

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 36 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Julian Assange
Views: 200
Posted by: calmansi on Feb 8, 2011

From: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cwQ2UbsN0s
Uploaded by lovernuts1, Feb. 7, 2011. Recorded in UK for a rally of support of Wikileaks in Melbourne,Feb. 4, 2011 More info in the description of the YT video. The "BY-SA" CC license seems a logical one for a press communiqué from Wikileaks.

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