International governments must not “shoot the messenger” by attacking disclosures by WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange said today.
Assange – writing ahead of his arrest in the UK earlier today – said Wikileaks ‘copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes’because it was a young and small organisation.
His website had not cost a single life despite the claims of critics, he said in an article in The Australian newspaper, and as such deserved protection.
Assange said democratic societies need a strong media – which included Wikileaks – as it helped keep governments honest.
He said Wikileaks coined a new type of journalism – scientific journalism – and worked with other media outlets – including The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel – to bring people news.
‘WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption,’he said.
‘People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars.
‘But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies.
‘If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it. If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these.”
Assange said Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard was guilty of “disgraceful pandering” to the Americans.
“The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn’t want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings,’he said.