The following words are part of an email I received on December 15th. Frankly, I didn’t open it until today as I was on a lovely 12 day holiday with Lucia (our first for just the two of us since our first daughter was born over 20 years ago) at the time of the email’s arrival. I would much rather hike and swim in nature while on holiday than check my inbox!

And since I make it a point not to read newspapers, watch TV or listen to the radio, I’m a little slow off the mark on the recent furor over WikiLeaks. So please have a read of this information provided by activist group Avaaz.

But first – a little about Avaaz from their website at: http://www.avaaz.org/en/about.php

Avaaz—meaning “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.

Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Our model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force.(Read about results on the Highlights page.)

The Avaaz community campaigns in 14 languages, served by a core team on 4 continents and thousands of volunteers. We take action — signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing “offline” protests and events — to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform the decisions that affect us all.

 

Here’s the email I received complete with links where you can join the tide of difference (rather than indifference, that is) in standing up to the intimidation of governments which don’t seem to truly have the global community’s best interests in mind.

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

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 and forward this email to everyone — let’s get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl

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 below to join the call to stop the crackdown:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl

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,

Ricken, Emma, Alex, Alice, Maria Paz and the rest of the Avaaz team.

 

SOURCES:

Law experts say WikiLeaks in the clear (ABC)http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2010/s3086781.htm  

WikiLeaks are a bunch of terrorists, says leading U.S. congressman (Mail Online) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1333879/WikiLeaks-terrorists-says-leading-US-congressman-Peter-King.html

Cyber guerrillas can help US (Financial Times)http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d3dd7c40-ff15-11df-956b-00144feab49a.html#axzz17QvQ4Ht5   

Amazon drops WikiLeaks under political pressure (Yahoo)http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101201/tc_afp/usdiplomacyinternetwikileakscongressamazon  

“WikiLeaks avenged by hacktivists” (PC World): http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/212701/operation_payback_wikileaks_avenged_by_hacktivists.html  US

Gov shows true control over Internet with WikiLeaks containment (Tippett.org) http://www.tippett.org/2010/12/us-gov-shows-true-control-over-internet-with-wikileaks-containment/  

US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/us-embassy-cables-executed-mike-huckabee

WikiLeaks ditched by MasterCard, Visa. Who’s next? (The Christian Science Monitor)http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2010/1207/WikiLeaks-ditched-by-MasterCard-Visa.-Who-s-next

Assange’s Interpol Warrant Is for Having Sex Without a Condom (The Slatest) http://slatest.slate.com/id/2276690/

 

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