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While accepting a Walkley Award for “Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism” on behalf Wikileaks, Julian Assange launched into a tirade aimed at Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gulliard.
A somewhat dishevelled Assange, in a message recorded in the UK where he continues to fight extradition to Sweden where is wanted to face questioning regarding charges of sexual assault , accepted the award described as Australia’s version of the Pulitzer.
He began the speech with the expected thank you for the award. That he stood before his backdrop of upside down logos belonging to financial institutions subjecting Wikileaks to an “arbitrary and unlawful” blockade was, however, a sign there was more to come. Wikileaks recently announced a “temporary shutdown” to fight the blockade which it claims has resulted in the site having cash flow issues.
Some dissatisfaction has been expressed at Wikileaks and Assange being regarded as journalists. Assange had no compunction, however, in accepting the award.
“We, journalists, are at our best when we share with activists and lawyers the goal of exposing illegality and wrongdoing,” the embattled whistleblower announced.
He then went into what is beginning to be a “stump speech” against the financial institutions.
“An unprecedented banking blockade has shown us that VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, the Bank of America, and Western Union are mere instruments of Washington foreign policy. Censorship, in this manner, has been privatised. Powerful enemies are testing the waters to see how much they can get away with, see how they can abuse the system that they’re integrated with to prevent scrutiny.”
An irate Assange then launched into a something of a screed against Gillard, accusing her of being an embarrassment, a coward, and apparently wanting Barack Obama’s job, amongst other things.
What I cannot understand is the craven behaviour of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It is embarrassing. Does she really think that she can become Obama’s deputy and then run off with his friends, and his job in the manner that she did with Kevin Rudd [Gillard’s predecessor] and so many before him?
It won’t work this time, the US constitution won’t permit it.
It is time Julia Gillard stop sucking up to power and start using the power that she has to the benefit of the Australian people. This time last year Julia Gillard commissioned an absurd, absurd, all of government task force against us [Wikileaks].
Unusually, Assange spoke about his legal problems. “I, personally, have spent over 350 days under house arrest. I have not been charged with any crime in any country but my name is constantly smeared.”
Assange, who is an equally revered and reviled figure in public consciousness, famously called Facebook “the most appalling spying machine ever invented” in a previous rant.