Monday, March 7, 2011

Christine Assange Lashes Out At Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

By Jerry Smith Mar 7 2011

Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, lashes out at Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and accuses her of prejudicing her son's right to a fair trial.

Christine Assange said that with Gillard's "ongoing character assassination of Julian in the media" the government's offer of "normal consular assistance" was "about as useful as a floatie in a tsunami".

Gillard has stated that her personal view of Julian Assange does not affect the government assistance given to him. Christine Assange responded:
"Are you serious? A Prime Minister publicly accuses one of her own citizens as having committed an 'illegal act' and impugns his character ahead of the most publicised case in the world this decade - and you think it has no effect?"

"You have cast aside the presumption of innocence and prejudiced his right to a fair trial."
Gillard has said that the contents of the US diplomatic cables should not automatically be taken as fact. Christine Assange responded by saying:
"What are you trying to say, Julia - that WikiLeaks has made up the cable that exposed Mark Arbib as being in bed with the US for the past four years, or the one that reveals for 12 months you both plotted the political coup of an elected Prime Minister? Is that a myth too?"
Gillard is currently in the United States and has said that she will not be discussing Julian Assange during her visit. Christine Assange has insisted that the alliance between the US and Australia is strong enough to allow Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, to defend the rights of an Australian citizen and said:
"She should say that America stands for freedom and rule of law and that should be applied to Julian"
Christine Assange also said:
"While you are in the US, why don't you drop in on Daniel Ellsberg [who leaked the Pentagon Papers] and ask him just what he thinks about Julian and his work? He is on the public record as stating that there is no difference between them."
Gillard is in the United States to announce that the Australian government will pledge $3.3 million towards an Australian-themed display in a new Vietnam war memorial which will honor Australia's involvement in the war. The Vietnam war claimed 521 Australian lives.

Gillard will be meeting with the President of the United States Barack Obama and will probably discuss the Afghanistan war with him, but not Julian Assange or any other difficult topics. Gillard will also be addressing the new US congress, having lunch with News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch, talking with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, having discussions about global security with secretary of state Hillary Clinton and CIA director Leon Panetta, and discussing global economy with Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and the head of the World Bank Robert Zoellick among other events and meetings.

Before leaving Australia Gillard declared that she was:
"all ears about the possibility of the US placing more military forces on Australian soil if it believes this is necessary in the light of the growing might of China and India”.
Gillard did not want to make any decisions regarding the distribution of US troops in the Asia-Pacific and said:
“But clearly we can be engaged and discussing what is possible in terms of collaboration with their defence force.”
Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an appeal against Judge Howard Riddle's ruling last week that Assange, who is still under house arrest at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk,UK, should be extradited to Sweden because he felt Assange could get a fair trial in Sweden and that his extradition to Sweden would not violate his human rights.

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden where he has not been charged with anything but is wanted for questioning by the Swedish police about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. Assange denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the two women.

Assange and his lawyers fear that if he is extradited to Sweden he may then be extradited to the United States, where he could face torture, confinement at Guantanamo Bay, both, or even the death penalty.

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