Wikileaks founder has his passport confiscated

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Wikileaks founder has his passport confiscated

Postby sunny » Wed May 19, 2010 10:33 am

WikiLeaks founder has his passport confiscated

By Glenn Greenwald
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 07:20 ET

This is a reminder that one can't run around exposing the secrets of the most powerful governments, militaries and corporations in the world without consequences:

The Australian founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks had his passport confiscated by police when he arrived in Melbourne last week.

Julian Assange, who does not have an official home base and travels every six weeks, told the Australian current affairs program Dateline that immigration officials had said his passport was going to be cancelled because it was looking worn.

However he then received a letter from the Australian Communication Minister Steven Conroy’s office stating that the recent disclosure on Wikileaks of a blacklist of websites the Australian government is preparing to ban had been referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Last year Wikileaks published a confidential list of websites that the Australian government is preparing to ban under a proposed internet filter -- which in turn caused the whistleblower site to be placed on that list.

The Australian document was so damaging because the Australian government claimed that the to-be-banned websites were all associated with child pornography, but the list of the targeted sites including many which had nothing to do with pornography. That WikiLeaks was then added to the list underscores the intended abuse.

Forcing Assange to remain in Australia would likely be crippling to WikiLeaks. One of the ways which WikiLeaks protects the confidentiality of its leakers and evades detection is by having Assange constantly move around, managing WikiLeaks from his laptop, backpack, and numerous countries around the world. Preventing him from leaving Australia would ensure that authorities around the world know where he is and would impede his ability to maintain the secrecy on which WikiLeaks relies.

Secrecy is the crux of institutional power -- the principal weapon for maintaining it -- and there are very few entities left which can truly threaten that secrecy. As the worldwide controversy over the Iraqi Apache helicopter attack compellingly demonstrated, WikiLeaks is one of the very few entitles capable of doing so and fearlessly devoted to that mission. It's hardly surprising that those responsible would be harassed and intimidated by governmental agencies -- it'd be far more surprising if they weren't -- but it's a testament to how truly threatening they perceive outlets like WikiLeaks to be. I hope to speak with Assange later today and will provide more details as I know them.

Glenn Greenwald
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Re: Wikileaks founder has his passport confiscated

Postby wintler2 » Fri May 21, 2010 6:57 am

The Times piece may be a beat up. This SMH article is less panicked:
Assange told The Age his passport was taken from him by customs officials at Melbourne Airport when he entered the country last week after he was told ''it was looking worn''.

When the passport was returned to him after about 15 minutes, he says he was told by authorities that it was going to be or was cancelled.

Passports are routinely taken from travellers for short periods by immigration officials if they are damaged. ..

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has also asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the leaking and publishing of the Australian internet blacklist.

But a spokeswoman for the AFP said yesterday the federal police had dropped the case earlier this year because it was ''not in our jurisdiction''. ..

Assange said half an hour after his passport was returned to him, he was approached by an Australian Federal Police officer who searched one of his bags and asked him about his criminal record relating to computer hacking offences in 1991.

So was the passport held for 15mins because it was damaged or because .. the 15min wait was supposed to harrass or intimidate Assenge? i don't think so. If they could insert an accurate tracking device that might be handy .. or not, as wikileaks is a virtual organisation. I can imagine three possible reasons The Times would run a beat-up: 1. hype sells. 2. to discourage potential Wikileaks supporters and informants; 3. to encourage the public perception that Wikileaks is 'the real deal'. I heard long Assenge interview on ABC a few days later, don't think he bothered to mention passport wait.

OT but interesting: wikipedia sez the author of The Times piece Glenn Greenwald defended the white supremacist World Church Of The Creator/Creativity Movement on 1st Amendment grounds.
"Wintler2, you are a disgusting example of a human being, the worst kind in existence on God's Earth. This is not just my personal judgement.." BenD

Research question: are all god botherers authoritarians?
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