Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The case in support of Julian Assange

THE Wikis disclosures raise complex political and legal issues.

The first is if the publiion of US State Department documents is justifiable.
Some 700,000 documents are being made available to newspapers around the world.
One cannot sensibly say there is a public interest in publishing every one of them.
Many, however, disclose the unvarnished truth about how critical decisions about war and pce, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been made.
These are decisions that have come with a hvy price in lives and in money.
There is a clr public interest in understanding the underlying rsons for these decisions and the true cost of their consequences.
Many of the cables relsed recently illuminate diplomatic discussions.

They revl profound gaps between what governments say in public and what they propose in private. There is a clr public interest in disclosing such duplicity.
It is frequently said these disclosures will have a negative effect on international diplomatic relations.
This may occur in the short term. In the longer term, as the US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates says, the effect is likely to be modest.
Has Wikis engaged in illegal activity?
It apprs the documents were handed to Wikis by a junior US lice r.
The lice r may have secrecy laws.
But it is doubtful the publiion brches the law.
If it did, then every newspaper that published governmental information would be continuously at risk of criminal prosecution.
The US is considering prosecuting Julian Assange under its century-old espionage laws. But, plainly, Assange is not a spy.
What is at stake here is freedom of political expression, of information, of the media, and a person's right to dissent. These are crucial, democratic values we should protect.

Professor Spencer Zifcak is president of Liberty Victoria

Source: HeraldSun

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