Attorney-General’s Department calls Assange reckless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

by karwalski

Below is the a letter dated 22 March 2012 I received in response to my most recent letter to the Attorney General (in response to this letter)

Dear Mr xxxxxx

I refer to your letter of 23 February 2012 to the Attorney-General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, concerning Mr Julian Assange. I am responding to you on behalf of the Attorney-General.

You have asked about protections available for a citizen detained in response to an extradition request in circumstances where there may be allegations that the request is politically motivated.

Most extradition treaties, including those to which Australia is a party, require the refusal of extradition where the offence or offences in question are of political character, or in circumstances where extradition is sought for an impermissible purpose, including for the purpose of prosecuting a person on account of his or her political opinions.

You have also referred to the Australian Government’s response to the allegations against Mr Assange. The Australian Government has stated that the large scale distribution of hundreds of thousands of classified United States Government documents is reckless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

The Government acknowledges the importance of openness and transparency and the public’s right to be informed or raise concerns about government matters. However, with any right comes responsibility. Being informed of government related matters does not entail an automatic right to every document within the government’s possession. Certain information must remain confidential in order for governments to carry out their role of protecting the national interest. The Australian Government has put in place a range of mechanisms to balance the competing public interests in this area, including strong freedom of information laws, independent accountability and oversight mechanisms and a commitment to strengthen laws to protect whistleblowers. The Government has stated that the debate about the WikiLeaks matter is not about censoring free speech or preventing the media from reporting news. The Government’s concerns relate to the reckless disregard for the potential damage that could be caused by the unauthorised disclosure of classified material.

Yours sincerely

Anna Harmer
Assistant Secretary
International Crime Cooperation Central Authority