by Keith Locke
Prominent Australians, including Green Senator Bob Brown, have signed an Open Letter to Julia Gillard asking her to provide assistance to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the face of the attacks he is facing, including threats of assassination.
The letter says “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).”
It called for Ms Gillard to “publicly confirm Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication” and “to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.”
One of the most distasteful things is the way big governments and big corporates are combining to try to shut down Wikileaks. Amazon pushed Wikileaks off its server, PayPal stopped donations, and now Mastercard and Visa have blocked payments to Wikileaks.
Corporate globalisation does not necessarily mean an advance of civilisation if dominant corporations like Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa can be marshalled by the American superpower to shut down its critics. To protest Amazon’s despicable behaviour people can order their books through other book retailers, but it is hard to avoid Visa and Mastercard because they control most of the New Zealand market.
Wikileaks is becoming the free speech battle of our time, and we all have a stake in how it plays out.