Australia blames US over WikiLeaks

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday said the United States, not WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was to blame for the leak of secret cables, pointing to a “core problem” with its diplomatic security.

Rudd, himself the focus of embarrassing memos recently released by the whistle-blowing site, said “the unauthorised release of these things by the US system” was the core problem, not WikiLeaks or Assange.

“When you’ve got a quarter-of-a-million cables pecking around out there, and on top of that you have people who have had access in the US system to these sorts of cables in excess of two million people, that’s where the core of the problem lies,” Rudd told commercial radio.

“In terms of the dissemination in the information, you know, around the region or around the world, whether it’s by WikiLeaks, by the Melbourne Age [newspaper], or by anybody else, well that’s an entirely separate matter.”

“But my view is the core problem lies with the US protection of its own diplomatic communications.”

Rudd’s comments come just days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard accused WikiLeaks of “grossly irresponsible” conduct and said the information published on the site was gathered through an “illegal act”.

‘Disgraceful pandering’
Assange, an Australian citizen who was arrested in Britain on Tuesday on Swedish sex charges, has accused Canberra of “disgraceful pandering” to his foes in a bid to protect its own interests. Bail was refused, with a judge saying a court would review the situation at a hearing on December 14. “I am satisfied that there are substantial grounds to believe that if granted bail, he would fail to surrender,” district judge Howard Riddle said at City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court.

Rudd said Australian authorities would investigate whether Assange (39) had broken any domestic laws but stressed that was at “political arm’s-length from what the business of government is about”.

He also vowed to offer Assange the same consular assistance and support as any other Australian citizen in strife abroad, adding that “we intend to do that without fear or favour”.

An open letter calling on Gillard to support Assange and protect his basic rights was flooded by so much traffic Wednesday it caused the server to crash, with thousands of signatures, including US academic and activist Noam Chomsky. — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

No mention of Africa when it comes to US foreign policy

During pre-election debates in the United States, very little has been said on how they view one of the world’s largest markets — which, in turn, is determined to come into its own

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Fake trafficking news targets migrants

Exaggerated reports on social media of human trafficking syndicates snatching people in broad daylight legitimate xenophobia while deflecting from the real problems in society

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa

The challenges of delivering a Covid-19 vaccine in Africa requires a new approach

It is imperative that we train healthcare workers and participate in continent-wide collaboration

Spain detains software creator McAfee wanted in US

The announcement of his arrest comes a day after US prosecutors released an indictment against McAfee for allegedly failing to report income

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

Malawi court judges win global prize

Members of the small African country’s judiciary took a stand for democracy to international approval

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday