There is a battle looming between a subservient Australian government and its American benefactor:
Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside told The Sunday Age Mr Assange’s reference to Mr Hicks was apt, given the government’s apparent enthusiasm to assist the US rather than an Australian citizen.
But he said he ”wouldn’t be surprised” if Mr Assange had committed an offence, given he almost certainly knowingly assisted with the publication of classified documents when the first wave of 250,000 sensitive US diplomatic cables was posted on WikiLeaks last Monday.
Ms Gillard has asserted that Mr Assange’s actions were illegal. A taskforce of Australian soliders, intelligence officers and officials is investigating whether he has breached any Australian laws.
Mr McClelland yesterday said Mr Assange might not be welcome back in Australia if he is convicted over the leaks. He confirmed Australia was providing ”every assistance” to US authorities in their investigation.
”Some of these documents [have] … the potential to put an individual’s safety or national security at risk,” Mr McClelland told The Sunday Age. Should Mr Assange be arrested, he will be offered consular assistance.