Tuesday, January 4, 2011

AfD Portland statement in support of Wikileaks

Alliance for Democracy of Portland, Oregon, USA, would like to publicly express solidarity with Julian Assange, the investigative journalist and internet publisher of WikiLeaks website, which he founded in 2006. Since then, Assange has won numerous awards including a Media Award for excellence in human rights journalism in 2009 from Amnesty International (New Media) for exposing extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya. The legitimacy of his status as a journalist has been recognized by the Center for Investigative Journalism.

In a world where most sources of news are owned and controlled by governments and large corporations, which use said organs of public media to aggrandize themselves and suppress news unfavorable to their own bottom line, we support international freedom of the press and those pressmen, presswomen, and publishers who operate without the constraints of corporate control.

In December 2010, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank La Rue, said Assange or other WikiLeaks staff should not face legal accountability for any information they disseminated, noting that "if there is a responsibility by leaking information it is exclusively of the person that made the leak and not of the media that publish it. And this is the way that transparency works and that corruption has been confronted in many cases." 

We refute Assange’s condemnation by many governments, including the United States—in a remarkable stance against our own First Amendment—for his exposure of embarrassing, slanderous verbiage by public officials in many countries, and the publication of videos showing United States forces engaging in criminal acts of shooting journalists and civilians

In a continuing conspiracy to obstruct the freedom of the press and the free speech rights of Mr. Assange guaranteed in the First Amendment, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal have all stopped processing contributions to WikiLeaks. Major corporations in the business of money handling should not cut the flow of money to a publication in order to control its content, on behalf of the US government.

This is a civil liberties issue. We support Julian Assange’s right to publish truthful news on a free access internet source such as WikiLeaks. We decry his persecution and hounding by the Swedish government on trumped-up charges of alleged sexual offenses.

Whether or not the Swedish accusations have merit, Mr. Assange has not been charged, much less convicted, of any crime. It is quite remarkable that he was held in Britain without bail as if charged with a capital crime, although in fact merely wanted for questioning. This is indicative that the Swedish matter is being exaggerated as intimidation or retaliation for Wikileaks' unwelcome revelations.

We support the right of Julian Assange to publish WikiLeaks on the basis of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. That amendment is copied below least we forget the text of the amendment, These are rights explicitly retained by the American people when the Constitution of the United States was adopted.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."


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