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Byron Shire
July 13, 2024

Byron Council supports Assange

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Paul Bibby

Should Byron Council get involved in the fight to bring Wikileaks founder Julian Assange home to Australia or stick to fixing potholes?

The answer at last week’s full Council meeting was a nearly unanimous ‘Yes’ to entering the arena on Assange.

Despite the protestations of Councillor Alan Hunter that the issue was ‘not our paddock’, councillors voted to write to the Foreign Affairs Minister demanding action – or at least to get Council staff to do so.

They also voted to write to all local state and federal representatives asking them to either join or support the Bring Assange Home Parliamentary Group, which is currently made up of 11 MPs from across party lines.

‘We can’t let our freedoms and our rights be eroded like this,’ said Deputy Mayor Sarah Ndiaye, who moved the Assange motion.

‘Julian is not the only one [being persecuted] but he is being held up as a poster boy. They are sending the message “this is what happens when you speak up”.

‘We need to do something, but the Australian government has been doing bugger all. This is a notice of motion to say enough is enough.’

But Councillor Alan Hunter argued that getting involved in the Assange fight was both futile and a waste of time.

‘We’ve got far too many potholes, far too many parking issues, and far too many other things to deal with to be wasting time on getting involved in this,’ Cr Hunter said.

‘We’re better off balancing our budget.

‘This [motion] isn’t going to make a rat’s arse of a difference.’

Cr Hunter went on to make the point that Council itself kept multiple documents from the public eye each month and had good reasons to do so.

‘This guy published documents that had huge ramifications for people’s lives knowing that they did so. I don’t agree that he is an innocent victim in all of this.’

In response to this, Cr Ndiaye said that the motion would not take up any staff time, Council resources, nor would it cost anything.

♦ Read more: The ‘sadistic’ trial of Julian Assange


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3 COMMENTS

  1. I say yes… Byron council represents our local community.

    Today a US court deported a German Soldier still receiving a German Military pension while living in the States for crimes committed while enlisted in the German Military during ww11.

    It seems apparent the Western World believe & rightly so the crimes committed by the Germans against humanity were crimes of war & the United States soldiers discovered via Wikileaks with respect to supposed peace & rehabilitation service by US soldiers serving in Afghanistan committed war crimes. It’s a bit too duplicitous for this to be an acceptable situation.

    As a result of this early Wikileaks scenario, while personally, I remember doing a lovely ‘air punch’ at the time, I considered it ‘nothing to do with me’ taking very little interest.

    My details of these events to be honest are sketchy.. filed it somewhere in my mind file…to be recovered at a later date.

    I feel in the light of the horrendous, dehumanising treatment & the large, global scale intimidation of whistleblowers by the US government. The gratitude society owe this human who had the courage to put himself at risk to identify a situation, similar to the treatment of some people in Germany by a tyrannical, divisive, deluded human being. The fact that these soldiers committed war crimes of their own volition during service to a country supposedly more responsible. Certainly not the tyrannical one man show of the outrageous moustache donning, sky pointing psychopath, they were not told by the president to treat the people they harmed like that through imminent threat to their own life through the modern day equivalent of the moustache. Hope that makes sense.

    The US very simply wanted to keep it hidden. Did not want this to be bought to the fore. To public view. To the world stage. The wanted it to remain hidden.

    It is deeply disappointing to see this complicit sham by the UK government & the distancing by the Australian Government for one our courageous citizens to bring war crimes to balance so as society may continue to learn & grow.

    It is also interesting that DT offered Assange a pardon from his 125 year sentence if he admitted Russia was not involved. A little too strange.

    So I feel, in light of today’s own US standard of accountability, with this German Guard being deported we have an absolute obligation as a community & a nation to stand behind & with this man & this situation & what’s the word demand & expect ‘transparency’.. synonymously attributed globally to the work of Wikileaks in expectation of Global Government accountability & transparency.
    Demand freedom for a courageous, eccentric, very clever human whom used his gifts to help bring valance to the false belief Governments are unaccountable & can do whatever they want. It just is not true.

    love & blessings

  2. Interesting that Cr Ndiaye could not answer Cr Hunter’s comment -tat Byron Council itself keeps confidential material. What responsible government or other organisation does not, including information provided to the organisation by other parties. Pensioners in Byron Shire for example would provide their Cnetrelink details in order to get a discount on rates. Cr Hunter’s comment goes to the heart of why what Assange is alleged to have done is so very wrong. If an employee of Byron Shire knowingly provided rafts of confidential details they would be likely dismissed. Only very small part of the Wikileaks material had anything about it that might be described as whistle-blower; the largest part was material the US State Department – like Byron Shire -considered should be kept confidential, including material we shared with the US that we considered should be kept confidential.
    I trust Cr Ndiaye would not consider it acceptable if Byron Shire confidential material was leaked; it’s a shame she and other councilors do not extend the same respect to our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade right to have its material kept confidential if not to the US State Department’s.

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