Assange’s mother hits out at Gillard

Source: The Age
http://www.theage.com.au/national/assanges-mother-hits-out-at-gillard-20110306-1bjk3.html#poll

Michelle Grattan
March 7, 2011 @ 7.55am

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JULIAN Assange’s mother has lashed out at Julia Gillard, accusing her of ”character assassination” and prejudicing her son’s right to a fair trial.

Christine Assange was responding to criticisms of the media and ”myths” in their coverage of Assange and WikiLeaks made by the Prime Minister in an interview with The Age last week.

Ms Assange ridiculed Ms Gillard’s statement that her personal view of Assange did not affect the government assistance given to him.

”Are you serious? A prime minister publicly accuses one of her own citizens as having committed an ‘illegal act’ and impugns his character ahead of the most publicised case in the world this decade – and you think it has no effect?”

In light of Ms Gillard’s ”ongoing character assassination of Julian in the media”, the government’s offer of ”normal consular assistance” was ”about as useful as a floatie in a tsunami”, Ms Assange said.

”You have cast aside the presumption of innocence and prejudiced his right to a fair trial,” she said in a piece written in reply to the Prime Minister. She said Ms Gillard condemned the media for ”appalling” confusion in comparing WikiLeaks disclosures to those of whistleblowers in Watergate and other instances.

”While you are in the US, why don’t you drop in on Daniel Ellsberg [who leaked the Pentagon Papers] and ask him just what he thinks about Julian and his work? He is on the public record as stating that there is no difference between them.”

She also attacked Ms Gillard’s warning that what was reported in the US diplomatic cables should not be assumed as fact.

”What are you trying to say, Julia – that WikiLeaks has made up the cable that exposed Mark Arbib as being in bed with the US for the past four years, or the one that reveals for 12 months you both plotted the political coup of an elected prime minister? Is that a myth too?”

Ms Gillard has said she will not raise the Assange matter while she is in the US.

Ms Assange, who lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, said the US-Australia alliance should be strong enough to allow an Australian prime minister to stand up for an Australian citizen’s interests.

”She should say that America stands for freedom and rule of law and that should be applied to Julian.”

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