Julian Assange was recently awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation (SPF)’s peace medal, presented to him in London. The event was organised at the Frontline Club. Assange’s acceptance address follows introductions by the SPF’s Stuart Rees and Mary Kostikidis.
A write up of a Q&A section with Assange, which followed the speeches, can be found here (part I) and here (part II).
‘Breaking Australia’s silence: WikiLeaks and freedom’ was a public forum held on 16 March 2011 at the Sydney Town Hall. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney.
Chaired by Mary Kostakidis, it featured speeches by John Pilger, Andrew Wilkie MP (the only serving Western intelligence officer to expose the truth about the Iraq invasion) and Julian Burnside QC, defender of universal human rights under the law.
Bill Keller of the New York Times accuses Wikileaks of engaging in ‘anti-war propaganda’. Of course that is something that the august ‘paper of record’ would never do. It only engages in pro-war propaganda. Check out the kind of things Keller was writing in the lead up to the Iraq war.
Phenomenons otherwise known as Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have – no doubt – turned world politics and journalism, upside-down. Maybe that’s why the New York Times was among the first US Media outlets to begin working with Assange last year, securing scoops on classified US Government documents obtained by WikiLeaks. Six months later, the relationship has soured and the Times is looking to profit from it by publishing a critical tell-all book about the source that they once relied on.
David Bromwich is the Sterling Professor of English at Yale, and easily the most astute observer of Barack Obama’s performance and character. He has written some of the most insightful articles on the Obama presidency in which he subjects Obama’s oratory and style to close textual and formal analysis, and highlights the various traits that are symptomatic of his approach to politics. In this wide ranging discussion with Christopher Lydon of the excellent Radio Open Source (based at Brown University’s Watson Institute) Bromwich brings his formidable analytical skills to bear on Obama’s langauge, the difference between his improptu and scripted speech, his attempts at humour, and what it reveals about the man. He also makes an interesting comparison between Obama’s style and that of former presidents such as Lincoln, Reagan and Kennedy.
From Dylan Rattigan’s excellent show on MSNBC, an interview with one of Bradley Manning’s friends who describes the conditions under which he is being held.
By comparison, following is Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, a second rate journalist who generally recycles the consensus view of the Washington punditocracy with little in the way of scepticism or original thought. You can tell from the report below that she even manages to render critical reports in the language of the beltway hack.
(I think Al Jazeera is head and shoulders above competitors in the mainstream as a media institution. But I can’t say I am a fan of its media watch show The Listening Post. The show lacks political edge, and the media analysis is trite. One wishes they would follow the hard hitting style of FAIR‘s excellent Counterspin.)
This week on CounterSpin: The journalism organization WikiLeaks is under massive attack by U.S. government officials, corporations, and journalists. Many are calling for the group and its spokesperson Julian Assange to be prosecuted; some have even called for Assange’s execution or assassination. Transnational companies like Visa, MasterCard and Paypal have cut off services, and even liberal US pundits are attacking the group with inaccurate smears. WikiLeaks crime? Making leaked U.S. diplomatic cables available to the world both directly and through its mainstream media partners. In this special extended CounterSpin interview, we’ll talk to Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald about the assault on WikiLeaks and Assange, and what it means for journalism.
Update: John Pilger writes in The Independentdefending Assange against a defamatory piece published by the Guardian.
by Dennis Bernstein
An interview with John Pilger
Dennis Bernstein (DB): Let me get your overview here of Julian Assange and what is happening to him. How do you see this?
John Pilger (JP): Well, it’s a very complicated and very suspicious case, of course. Today [Thursday] we saw a pinch of justice, that’s all. But his bail is weighted down with conditions. He’s virtually under a kind of house arrest. Now if he wasn’t Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, none of this would have happened. I doubt whether there would be any prosecution, we’d be having this conversation.
And we learned today [Thursday] that the Swedes had not initiated this appeal against bail that was heard today in the London court. It was the British. Why were they doing it? Were they doing it on behalf of the U.S.? I don’t know the answer to those questions. But suspicions really do mount in this case.