WikiLeaks founder Assange defends leaked US cables

Assange defended his Internet publishing site on Wednesday, likening himself to global media baron Rupert Murdoch.

WikiLeaks founder Assange defends leaked US cables

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended his Internet publishing site on Wednesday, saying it was crucial to spreading democracy and likening himself to global media baron Rupert Murdoch.

Assange has angered the United States by publishing details of 250,000 secret U.S. documents. He was remanded in custody by a British court on Tuesday over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.

In an opinion piece in Murdoch's News Corporation Australian newspaper, headlined "Don't shoot the messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths", Assange said WikiLeaks deserves protection, not threats and attacks.

"In 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: 'In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win'," wrote Assange.

He cited the late Keith Murdoch, Rupert's father, who during World War One exposed the needless loss of Australian life at Gallipoli, where Australian troops under British command were killed in a failed attack against the Turks.

"Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign," Assange wrote. "Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public."

Assange made no comment about his arrest in Britain after Sweden issued a European Arrest Warrant for sex crimes allegations. Assange, 39, denies the charges, and was remanded in jail until a fresh hearing on Dec. 14.

Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, refered to his upbringing in a small Australian country town, where people "spoke their minds bluntly" and distrusted big government. "WikiLeaks was created around these core values," he wrote.

He said WikiLeaks was set up as a way of using new technology to report the truth and said not one person had been harmed by any information published over the past four years.

"Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption," he wrote.

Assange questioned why only WikiLeaks was under attack, when other media outlets like Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel had also published U.S. cables.

WikiLeaks, which has provoked fury in Washington with its publications, vowed it would continue making public details of the 250,000 secret U.S. documents it had obtained.

Rudd said on Wednesday that Australia will provide Assange with consular help in relation to the court hearings in Britain over his possible extradition to Sweden.

"We have confirmed we will provide that, as we do for all Australian citizens," said Rudd, adding consular officials had attended Assange's appearance in court in London on Tuesday.

Assange's British lawyer, Mark Stephens, told reporters a renewed bail application would be made and that his client was "fine". He said many people believed the prosecution was politically motivated.


Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2010, 16:15
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