Julian Assange

Monday, December 20, 2010

AFP: WikiLeaks, Julian Assange broke no Aussie laws

WikiLeaks and its head honcho Julian Assange broke no Australian laws when it leaked sensitive diplomatic cables, at least according to an evaluation by the Australian Federal Police.

10 days ago, after the fallout from the diplomatic cables revealed to the world by WikiLeaks had begun, the Attorney-General Robert McClelland stated that it was his belief, and the position of the Federal Government, that the leaking of these potentially damaging diplomatic cables was illegal. Furthermore, Prime Minister Julia Gillard believed that the "foundation stone of it is an illegal act," even though she couldn’t fathom which laws the leaking had specifically broken.

This led to the AFP launching an investigation, evaluating the material that had been released to determine whether any laws had indeed been broken. It also saw several Australian communities reacting badly to this assumption that WikiLeaks and Assange were guilty of breaking the law, without any trial having taken place. But that’s another story altogether.

According to The Australian, the Australian Federal Police have ended their investigation, determining that no Australian laws were broken. This only refers to the 1,618 of the 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables that were actually published. The AFP has stated that it will have to evaluate any more that are published as and when that happens:
"The AFP has completed its evaluation of the material available and has not established the existence of any criminal offenses where Australia would have jurisdiction."
Gillard has immediately backed away from the comments she previously made, but insists that the theft of the material from the U.S. military was "a criminal act." What’s more, she still considers the publication of this material on the Web is a "grossly irresponsible thing to do." In other words, she’s against Wikileaks and is no fan of Assange, but has had to concede that there’s little that can be done through official legal channels.

Dec 20th, 2010 | By Dave Parrack | Category: Internet, Lead article, Technology news

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