Australia backs US against WikiLeaks

2010-11-29 11:00

Sydney - Australia said on Monday it would support the United States in any legal action against WikiLeaks, as the whistleblower site founded by Australian Julian Assange released thousands of sensitive US cables.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said WikiLeak's publication of diplomatic US memos could harm the national security interests of the US and its allies, including Australia, as well as "prejudice the safety" of those they discussed.

"Australia will support any law enforcement action that may be taken, the US will be the lead government in that respect, but certainly Australian agencies will assist," McClelland told reporters in Canberra.

Asked whether WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange was Australia's most wanted man, McClelland said: "The United States authorities are looking at law enforcement actions as the lead country, and we are providing every assistance and could be expected to provide every assistance."

McClelland said he received no request to cancel the passport of Assange, who has said that more than a quarter of a million diplomatic cables relating to "every major issue" in the world will be released in the latest data dump.

Criminal law 'breach'

But the attorney-general said he had asked Australian Federal Police to investigate whether the publication of the documents - one of which describes Australia as a "rock solid" but unimposing ally - broke any local laws.

"From Australia's point of view we think there are potentially a number of criminal laws that could have been breached by ... the release of this information," McClelland said.

"The Australian Federal Police are looking at that, clearly I don't want to pre-empt the outcome of that advice."

McClelland said the latest WikiLeaks release, which follows that of tens of thousands of US military files relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, would also be examined by a government taskforce.

The diplomatic cables will include hundreds sent by US officials in Australia, but their full content is as yet unknown.

  • flummery - 2010-11-29 11:26

    The US had their chance to work together with Wikileaks to stop any serious damage to their National Security. They threw that option back in the faces of WIkileaks. Suffer the consequences. Now the US and their allies are going to throw everything they have at Wikileaks. How long before Assange gets arrested for that 'rape and molestation' charge? Or Wikileaks gets labelled as a terroris organization? MEH. wikileaks is releasing info that blows apart the facade that goverments want us to believe in so.

  • Megan - 2010-11-29 11:32

    What is largely forgotten in getting on our high horses about freedom of speech is that people could die here from the leaking of sensitive information. These leaked documents could very well reveal double agents and others doing work covertly. This in turn, could compromise all the hard work done by these people. There has to be a balance between what is needed to know and what isnt.

      flummery - 2010-11-29 12:07

      if the US was worried about that, why didnt they take up the offer of sifting through the material with wikileaks? also: please provide any evidence that peoples lives are at risk. Reputations are at stake. Not lives. far.

      Bheki - 2010-11-29 12:11

      Politician makes decisions that affects us all not only their families. We trusted that they will take cogninsense that in their daily dealings they will have us as voters interest in mind. The ensure that decision that they take are supported by facts not allegations. Nothing should be secret about us to us or things that are done under our name should be open. I fully support the Wikileaks. If things are not kept secrets by few individuals there wouldn't be any risk to any body.

  • mmogadube - 2010-11-29 11:57

    Same countries can't stop to be lap dogs. Let the Americans fight their own battles.

      Schmalcolm - 2010-11-29 14:50

      If you consider Australia's neighbours to the north, such as Indonesia and China, without the US as allies, Australia could be a much more vulnerable place. Hence the reason why they bend over backwards for Uncle Sam.

  • Jimmy - 2010-11-29 12:34

    Julian Assange is the man.

      birdman - 2010-11-30 10:26

      He's an asshole!

  • ian - 2010-11-29 12:37

    Amazing how the so called democratic governments are suddenly try to close down the most vital instrument of democracy so they can hide their skulduggery, lies and general manipulation of the truth. Sure this stuff has been happening for hundreds of years, does not make it right for 1 second. I hopw WikiLeaks has much more they can publish and let's let politicians know that it is NOT OK to behave as they do, we elect THEM, THEY are the public servants. I guess too much to ask for honest politicians. Ian

      flummery - 2010-11-29 13:21

      theres still PLENTY to be released. So much more... cant wait for the economic conditions files to be released... the bankers are gonna see their moer. (about 50 000) yeaaaaaa, wikileaks is going to come up against plenty opposition soon.

  • JustinD - 2010-11-29 13:19

    I think Julian Assange is an idiot for doing this and should be charged with treason and everything else. It's great for us commoners to see what was said by whom etc etc BUT the reality is going to be lot's of blood spilt all over the world. I think that Aussie faggot needs to go into hiding because there will be some one some where that will do him in for this. Good luck Brucie ol boy i think your days are numbered.

      flummery - 2010-11-29 13:34

      and the governments involved in illegal activity? What should happen to them? Have you even read any of the files? Bleh for knee-jerk reaction.

  • Schmalcolm - 2010-11-29 13:44

    The US and Australia would need to play a little more cleverer than this if they were aver to aprehend him. Assange has apparently been considering Political Asylum in Switzerland. But so far his chances were slim because he'd need to prove he risks persecution from the Australian government, and that his life may be in danger if living there. Seems now, his application may be justified. I certainly hope so. We need people like this.

  • simon - 2010-11-29 15:43

    high horse as this will have huge repicutions for many people who were just doing their job.

  • simon - 2010-11-29 15:44

    Julian Assange is a hypocrite. By releasing all of this information he is doing exactly what he says he is against. The keeping of this information from public domain may create human rights abuses, but the releasing of information may do exactly the same. So he can get off his high horse as this will have huge repercussions for many people who were just doing what they were told. Flummery, when someone steals your laptop or household items, do you negotiate to get it back? I think not. This info was stolen illegally, bottom line.

      flummery - 2010-11-29 22:20

      information is not like my laptop or household items. This information is the information that governs our lives and it cannot be stolen. This is the right of every citizen of every relevant country to know. As Libtard as that may sound. Government has bullshitted enough. And MSM has done nothing but merrily help them out. Its journalism. WIkileaks has won numerous awards and isnt just a couple of hackers handing out 'stolen' information. Here is something that can change the world for good. Make the way our governments govern us transparent. We deserve the truth. After all it is about us. The citizens. Also, : The whiplash human rights abuses this may cause would be no different than the human rights abuses that wikileaks has the potential to stop. People might lose their jobs, you are quite correct. But if the information is so, that they deserve to lose their jobs because they were doing something illegal or immoral, is that not a good thing? I dont understand why there is an immediate knee jerk reaction to the wikileaks. Oh NOES! It is bad! Wikileaks have shown us how naughty our rulers are! SAY WHAT???????????????????????????????????? p.s personally im not fond of assange or his politics and opinions.

      simon - 2010-11-30 12:08

      So its alright to fight human rights issues with more human rights issues? That sound alot like the cycle that this is meant to break. I agree that there is information that needs to be know and available to us the people who have entrusted our leaders with power. but there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it. This is still a theft. As far as knee jerk reaction, this is nothing of the sort. My reaction is to how this was done and not what was in it. I dont think anyone would trust assange with the publication of items out their stolen diaries. He is not an unbiased observer in my view. His strong political views taint everything he does. It all just political bull.

  • Lisaman - 2010-11-30 08:32

    Its not Julian we should be angry at! How does democratic USA and it's allies actually behave in the real world out there. We have a right to know. Don't we want to understand how democracy is protected! As long as the converstaions and letters are real and not false, I want to know!!

      birdman - 2010-11-30 10:35

      ..and what are you going to do with this information - change the world? This is purely voyeurism, nothing more, nothing less. 250000 documents, who's going to read all that lot? This Aussie idiot should be taken out, and the people supplying him the information should be hanged - that's what they do to traitors!

      Schmalcolm - 2010-11-30 12:32

      What do you do with this information? You make governments answerable to it. And yes, it will change the world. He's doing what the Media should be doing and generally don't have the gonads to do - expose the truth. You may see him as a traitor. But he can also be seen as a liberator. Especially when what he exposes is the utter charade of worldwide politics. Idiot? Well, not really, the intelligent of this world appear to be giving him a lot of kudos recently -

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