Leave Julian Assange alone!

Wikileaks’ latest release of sensitive diplomatic cables has exposed the true feelings of the United States towards other countries. As one Twitter user put it on Nov. 28, the “US Government is just about to find out what it feels like to go through a nudie-scanner.”

Moreover, Canada is not on the sidelines this time.

Earlier this week, there were revelations of Prime Minister Harper’s motivation to attend a D-Day commemoration in France. According to a cable leaked by a French diplomat, President Sarkozy had originally been planning to invite the Chancellor of Germany, among others. Instead, he invited both Harper and and then-Prime Minister Brown of the U.K. because of political troubles back in their home countries. Harper, who was facing the possibility of a coalition government that would have ended his reign as Prime Minister, attended the ceremony to distance himself from the situation in Ottawa.

It is bad enough that we as a nation have had our parliament prorogued twice, but to hijack a memorial as a way of avoiding political problems in your country is appalling and downright cowardly.

One of the documents, dated from 2008, released even listed resources belonging to countries like Canada that the U.S. would rely on in case of an emergency.

What is even more shocking is the flippant comments being made by pundits in the US and Canada.

Regretfully, Thomas Flanagan, a renowned Harper political pundit and professor at the University of Calgary, called for the assassination of Assange. When asked to clarify his comment, he stated, “I wouldn’t feel unhappy if Assange disappeared.” Flanagan has since apologized for his statement.

Have we so lost sight of the Canadian ideals that led this country forward as a progressive nation that one of our political science scholars now openly calls for the murder of a working journalist? Yes, Julian Assange’s position as editor-in-chief at media organization Wikileaks designates him as a journalist, and a good one at that. Mainstream media organizations have repeatedly failed to break key stories, choosing instead to rewrite press releases. Laziness, not low readership, is the mitigating factor in the decline of quality journalism.

It is also disconcerting to see how the spotlight has shifted from the issues at hand to a public prosecution of Assange. The unnecessary probing into his personal life is a sad attempt at undermining Assange’s credibility, leading right now to an arrest warrant being issued by Interpol for alleged rape charges.

Amazon, which in addition to their book service also provides server infrastructure to many websites including WikiLeaks, has bowed under the pressure, and stopped hosting the site’s pages. Wikileaks has had to scramble for hosting at several different sites over the last few days. PayPal froze Wikileaks’ account, a source of income, saying the group is violating policy by engaging in illegal activity.

Canada is known as a progressive nation, but with remarks like Flanagan’s, we must continue to question the leadership of our country.

It is refreshing to see a leader like Assange open up our governments for better accountability.

Our age is one of infinite information, but also one of infinite misrepresentations. With the spin machine of press relations working 24-7, it is great to see a journalist who finally delivers what all journalists strive for: an accurate portrayal of the facts.

The importance of this leak will reverberate throughout many countries’ international policies. The cattiness of countries insulting each other is downright childish. Countries can and will disagree with each other, but they should do so openly, debating with each other and engaging in conversation.

WikiLeaks is no place for these things to be made public. And the public prosecution of Assange is a “kill the messenger” scenario if there ever was one.


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