Terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced, supporters plan protests worldwide

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People hold images of Julian Assange in front of their faces at a demonstration in Brisbane, Australia. Photograph: Steve Gray/EPA

According to The Guardian’s report, protests will be held around the world today against the detention ofJulian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Demonstrations are planned in the capitals of Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru to demand Assange’s release, the re-establishment of WikiLeaks domain name and the restoration of Visa and Mastercard credit services to allow supporters to donate money to the whistleblowing site.

A statement on the Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks said: “We seek the liberation of Julian Assange in United Kingdom territory.” The website called on protesters to gather at 6pm (17.00 GMT) in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and three other Spanish cities.

It also calls for “the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks (wikileaks.org) internet domain,” and the restoration of Visa and MasterCard credit card services to enable the “freedom to move money” because no one has “proved Assange’s guilt”, nor charged WikiLeaks with any crime.

Assange is in Wandsworth prison in south London after being refused bail on Tuesday. Sweden is seeking his extradition over allegations of sexual assault.

His lawyers said yesterday they are preparing for a possible indictment by the US authorities.

Jennifer Robinson said her team had heard from “several different US lawyers rumours that an indictment was on its way or had happened already, but we don’t know”.

According to some reports, Washington is seeking to prosecute Assange under the 1917 act, which was used unsuccessfully to try to gag the New York Times when it published the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. However, despite escalating rhetoric over the past fortnight, no charges have yet been lodged, and government sources say they are unaware any such move is being prepared.

Robinson said Assange’s team did not believe the US had grounds to prosecute him but understood that Washington was “looking closely at other charges, such as computer charges, so we have one eye on it”.

Earlier this week, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said the US had been put at risk by the flood of confidential diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks and he authorised a criminal investigation.

In another op-ed, published in the Vancouver Sun says, terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced.

When animals perceive an external threat they close ranks. Torture becomes acceptable. Senior advisers to prime ministers publicly call for assassinations. We’re scared. We’re running scared, all of us. We’re wondering when Canada will get its first major terrorist attack. We’re wondering if Julian Assange’s big mouth will facilitate that terrorist attack.

Columnist Dan Gardner is right — ever since Sept. 11, 2001 — when many of us felt that external threat for the first time and no one knew what was happening and the only people running the world were a few CNN anchors -our Canadian mind-sets changed and we were willing to become less liberal for the first time if it meant ensuring our own survival. Animals closing ranks. Taking sides. No longer were we a fly on the wall … we were what the fly was watching.

We are now at war. We are no longer safely, comfortably, arrogantly and sanitarily observing from the wings. We don’t have that luxury any more. We are direct participants in a major world conflict. But shutting up Assange isn’t the answer. Stifling the free flow of information is like giving in to the terrorists. If we let anyone make us close ranks such that the democratic values Canada stands for are thrown out the window we become animals.

Assange is right -surely in the year 2010 human beings have evolved enough such that we don’t need secrets any more and closing ranks should be a cliquish anachronism.

2 Comments to “Terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced, supporters plan protests worldwide”

  1. Great Salute to Julian Assange !

  2. Julian Assange urges supporters to protect WikiLeaks
    WikiLeaks editor-in-chief asks the world to defend his site from attacks by ‘instruments of US foreign policy’

    The crippling web attacks on multinational companies threaten to escalate after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urged supporters to protect the whisteblowers’ site from “instruments of US foreign policy”.

    Whitehall is preparing for an online backlash from the Anonymous cyber activists that brought down sites belonging to Visa, Mastercard and Paypal last week in response to the companies cutting ties with WikiLeaks. Downing Street said sites that deal with tax returns or benefits for millions of Britons are on red alert for a possible cyber attack.

    Speaking though a written statement from his Wandsworth prison cell, Assange last night said he was “calling for the world to protect my work and my people” from renewed pressure to restrict the site from publishing more leaked documents.

    A number of companies hosting WikiLeaks’ online operations, including Amazon and Paypal, have terminated their relationship with the whistleblowers’ site after pressure from Joe Lieberman, chair of the US homeland security committee.

    Assange is today appearing at Westminster magistrates court to appeal against the decision to refuse him bail, pending extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. He said last night that his convictions were “unfaltering” despite the extradition attempt, according to a written statement sent to Australian broadcaster the Seven Network by his mother, Christine Assange.

    “We now know that Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others are instruments of US foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before,” Assange said in a statement likely to add new impetus to the spate of cyber attacks being perpetrated by Anonymous in support of WikiLeaks.

    In a separate development, an attack which exposed the email addresses and passwords of 1.3 million Gawker users was also today linked with the thousand-strong Anonymous group.

    A subgroup of the amorphous “hacktivists” is preparing to hack and deface US government websites with pro-WikiLeaks propaganda, according to a Sky News journalist. Anonymous has previously made explicit its ambition to bring down the websites belonging to the US Senate and Swedish government.

    The website of the Royal Bank of Scotland was today experiencing problems loading after leaked US diplomatic documents showed that the bank’s new chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, had said its former directors had failed to live up to their duties. However, RBS said it was not coming under the attacks that have brought down other financial institutions’ websites in recent days.

    “We are aware of an issue affecting some online banking customers and we are working to resolve this as soon as possible,” RBS said in a statement. “We apologise to affected customers for any inconvenience this has caused.”

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