“Who can forget – who could possibly forget – the grainy image provided to WikiLeaks by a brave whistleblower that subsequently was released under the title of ‘Collateral Murder’, the footage of a US attack helicopter gunning down and killing innocent civilians and Reuters journalists in a street in Iraq? We only know of that, Deputy Speaker, because Julian Assange made us aware of that. He was doing his job. He was exercising every right that he has as a journalist to tell us about wrongdoing.
Deputy Speaker, the injustice of this is absolutely breathtaking, Absolutely breathtaking. As much as the attack on journalism is terrifying – because if the matter proceeds to its shameful conclusion then it will have set a precedent that applies to all Australian journalists that if ever any Australian journalist annoys a foreign government in any way and if that government is a government that the Australian government is hoping to curry favour with, then who’s to say that the Australian Government won’t be complicit in the extradition or the transport of that Australian journalist to that country?”
Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Clark, in a speech to the Australian Parliament, as reported in Cairns News, 15 February 2024, “Tasmanian MHR moves successful motion to bring Assange back to Australia”, (Tasmanian MHR moves successful motion to bring Assange back to Australia – www.cairnsnews.org
My take on it
I met Julian’s father last year. I asked him how it was going. He said that after fifteen years of this he had learned not to get his hopes up, but to take one day at a time.
It was also last year that Assange’s wife published this message on X:
Julian is 52 now. He was 38 when WikiLeaks published Collateral Murder and was last free. The video shows the US army killing a dozen civilians, including two Reuters employees on assignment and the rescuers who stopped to help the wounded. Reuters formally attempted to obtain the video but the Pentagon refused to hand it over. The evidence of what had happened remained on US military servers until intelligence whistle-blower Chelsea Manning sent it to WikiLeaks. Collateral Murder had a massive impact. The millions of dollars that had been poured into Pentagon PR messaging couldn’t make the public un-see the war crime.
“In a sane world, Assange would not only be freed, but awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” one person observed on X.
Some do not. The Liberal National Party voted against Wilkie’s motion – yet another marker that it has lost its moral compass – but gladly the motion was carried, 86 votes to 42.
Now the matter lies in the hands of two High Court Justices in the UK, with an appeal against his extradition set to be determined next week.
Please God there will soon be better news for Julian, and for his dad.