9 December 2010

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WikiLeaks: Let's Stop The Crackdown!

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (C) arrives to hold a press conference at Park Plaza Hotel on October 23, 2010 in London, England. A series of new leaks of American military documents, nearly 400,000 in total, have been released by the whistleblowing website, Wikileaks. The files detail how the torture and the abuse of detainees by Iraqi police, was ignored by US forces. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free press advocates everywhere...



Dear friends,


Legal experts say WikiLeaks has likely broken no laws. Yet top US politicians have called it a terrorist group and commentators have urged assassination of its staff. The organization has come under massive government and corporate attack, but WikiLeaks is only publishing information provided by a whistleblower. And it has partnered with the world's leading newspapers (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel etc) to carefully vet the information it publishes.

The massive extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression.

Sign the petition to stop the crackdown -- let's get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Julian Assange of the WikiLeaks website speaks to reporters at The Front Line Club on July 26, 2010 in London, England. The WikiLeaks website has published 90,000 secret US Military records. The Guardian and The New York Times newspapers and teh German Magazine Der Spiegel have also published details today. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)


WikiLeaks isn't acting alone -- it's partnered with the top newspapers in the world (New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corporate corruption.

The US government is currently pursuing all legal avenues to stop WikiLeaks from publishing more cables, but the laws of democracies protect freedom of the press. The US and other governments may not like the laws that protect our freedom of expression, but that's exactly why it's so important that we have them, and why only a democratic process can change them.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether WikiLeaks and the leading newspapers it's partnered with are releasing more information than the public should see. Whether the releases undermine diplomatic confidentiality and whether that's a good thing. Whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the personal character of a hero or a villain. But none of this justifies a vicious campaign of intimidation to silence a legal media outlet by governments and corporations.
Click here to join the call to stop the crackdown.

Ever wonder why the media so rarely gives the full story of what happens behind the scenes? This is why - because when they do, governments can be vicious in their response. And when that happens, it's up to the public to stand up for our democratic rights to a free press and freedom of expression. Never has there been a more vital time for us to do so.

With hope,

Loup Dargent
(On behalf of Ricken, Emma, Alex, Alice, Maria Paz and the rest of the Avaaz team.)


LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A supporter of Julian Assange holds a placard outside as another wears a mask outside Westminster Magistrates Court on December 7, 2010 in London, England. Wikileaks wesite founder Julian Assange appeared in court, before a district judge, to fight an extradition after being accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of rape. Mr Assange was remanded in custody pending a hearing next week. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)



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