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Support for open letter of Australian prominents regarding Julian Assange

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I, as a citizen of a democratic country, agree with the concerns of Australian citizens expressed in the following open letter to Julia Gillard: Dear Prime Minister, We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. “We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times. William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?” “Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg. “The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site. Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”. And so on and so forth. 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). In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing. Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him. As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen. We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states. We urge you to confirm publicly Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; 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. A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial – it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law. We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world. In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference. We look forward to your response. Dr Jeff Sparrow, author and editor Lizzie O’Shea, Social Justice Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn Professor Noam Chomsky, writer and academic Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author Mungo MacCallum, journalist and writer Professor Peter Singer, author and academic Adam Bandt, MP Senator Bob Brown Senator Scott Ludlam Julian Burnside QC, barrister Jeff Lawrence, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions Professor Raimond Gaita, author and academic Rob Stary, lawyer Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Lance Collins, Australian Intelligence Corps, writer The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC Brian Walters SC, barrister Professor Larissa Behrendt, academic Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, academic, Sydney Peace Foundation Mary Kostakidis, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation Professor Wendy Bacon, journalist Christos Tsiolkas, author James Bradley, author and journalist Julian Morrow, comedian and television producer Louise Swinn, publisher Helen Garner, novelist Professor Dennis Altman, writer and academic Dr Leslie Cannold, author, ethicist, commentator John Birmingham, writer Guy Rundle, writer Alex Miller, writer Sophie Cunningham, editor and author Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Professor Judith Brett, author and academic Stephen Keim SC, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights Phil Lynch, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Resource Centre Sylvia Hale, MLC Sophie Black, editor David Ritter, lawyer and historian Dr Scott Burchill, writer and academic Dr Mark Davis, author and academic Henry Rosenbloom, publisher Ben Naparstek, editor Chris Feik, editor Louise Swinn, publisher Stephen Warne, barrister Dr John Dwyer QC Hilary McPhee, writer, publisher Joan Dwyer OAM Greg Barns, barrister James Button, journalist Owen Richardson, critic Michelle Griffin, editor John Timlin, literary Agent & producer Ann Cunningham, lawyer and publisher Alison Croggon, author, critic Daniel Keene, playwright Dr Nick Shimmin, editor/writer Bill O'Shea, lawyer, former President, Law Institute of Victoria Dianne Otto, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School Professor Frank Hutchinson,Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney Anthony Georgeff, editor Max Gillies, actor Shane Maloney, writer Louis Armand, author and publisher Jenna Price, academic and journalist Tanja Kovac, National Cooordinator EMILY's List Australia Dr Russell Grigg, academic Dr Justin Clemens, writer and academic Susan Morairty, Lawyer David Hirsch, Barrister Cr Anne O’Shea Kathryn Crosby, Candidates Online Dr Robert Sparrow, academic Jennifer Mills, author Foong Ling Kong, editor Tim Norton, Online Campaigns Co-ordinator, Oxfam Australia Elisabeth Wynhausen, writer Ben Slade, Lawyer Nikki Anderson, publisher Dan Cass Professor Diane Bell, author and academic Dr Philipa Rothfield, academic Gary Cazalet, academic Dr David Coady, academic Dr Matthew Sharpe, writer and academic Dr Tamas Pataki, writer and academic Miska Mandic Associate Professor Jake Lynch, academic Professor Simon During, academic Michael Brull, writer Dr Geoff Boucher, academic Jacinda Woodhead, writer and editor Dr Rjurik Davidson, writer and editor Mic Looby, writer Jane Gleeson-White, writer and editor Alex Skutenko, editor Associate Professor John Collins, academic Professor Philip Pettit, academic Dr Christopher Scanlon, writer and academic Dr Lawrie Zion, journalist Johannes Jakob, editor Sunili Govinnage, lawyer Michael Bates, lawyer Bridget Maidment, editor Bryce Ives, theatre director Sarah Darmody, writer Jill Sparrow, writer Lyn Bender, psychologist Meredith Rose, editor Dr Ellie Rennie, President, Engage Media Ryan Paine, editor Simon Cooper, editor Chris Haan, lawyer Carmela Baranowska, journalist. Clinton Ellicott, publisher Dr Charles Richardson, writer and academic Phillip Frazer, publisher Geoff Lemon, journalist Jaya Savige, poet and editor Johannes Jakob, editor Kate Bree Geyer; journalist Chay-Ya Clancy, performer Lisa Greenaway, editor, writer Chris Kennett - screenwriter, journalist Kasey Edwards, author Dr. Janine Little, academic Dr Andrew Milner, writer and academic Patricia Cornelius, writer Elisa Berg, publisher Lily Keil, editor Jenny Sinclair Roselina Rose Stephen Luntz PM Newton Bryan Cooke Kristen Obaid Ryan Haldane-Underwood Patrick Gardner Robert Sinnerbrink Kathryn Millist Anne Coombs Karen Pickering Sarah Mizrahi Suzanne Ingleton Jessica Crouch Michael Ingleton Matt Griffin Jane Allen Tom Curtis John Connell David Garland Stuart Hall Meredith Tucker-Evans Phil Perkins Alexandra Adsett Tom Doig, editor Beth Jackson Peter Mattessi Robert Sinnerbrink Greg Black Paul Ashton Sigi Jottkandt Kym Connell, lawyer Silma Ihram Nicole Papaleo, lawyer Melissa Forbes Matthew Ryan Ben Gook Daniel East Bridget Ikin Lisa O'Connell Melissa Cranenburgh John Bryson Michael Farrell Melissa Reeves Dr Emma Cox Michael Green Margherita Tracanelli David Carlin, writer Bridget McDonnell Geoff Page, writer Rebecca Interdonato Roxane Ludbrook-Ingleton Stefan Caramia Ash Plummer


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