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Lettera aperta in difesa di WikiLeaks e del suo diritto di pubblicare

In Italian, from Paperblog | April 8 2011

Un gruppo di editori, giornalisti e filmmaker, riuniti nella Committee for the Right to Publish (che comprende lo scrittore Henry Porter, l’attivista per i diritti umani Jemima Khan, i giornalisti Charles Glass, Rachel Johnson ed Elaine Potter, i filmmaker Roger Graef e Vaughan Smith e gli editori Tony Curzon Price e Anthony Barnett), hanno messo a punto una lettera aperta – già sottoscritta da più di 200 personaggi celebri del mondo del giornalismo e dello spettacolo tra cui gli  scrittori Philip Pullman e Salman Rushdie, l’attrice Susan Sarandon e il regista Oliver Stone - per difendere con forza il diritto di WikiLeaks alla pubblicazione dei documenti, i famosi cable, e per condannare le minacce e le azioni legali nei confronti di Julian Assange.

La lettera, già tradotta in dodici lingue, ha il supporto di organizzazioni quali OpenDemocracy, Reporters Without Borders, The Newspaper Guild (Communications Workers of America), The International Federation of Journalists e Article 19 e può essere letta e sottoscritta su Wikileaks Open Letter

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WikiLeaks Open Letter, a new movement for WikiLeaks

From upvery.com (English translation of Spanish article, ‘WikiLeaks Open Letter, nuevo movimiento en favor de WikiLeaks’ published by alt1040.com) | April 8 2011

A few hours ago another movement has emerged in favor of U.S. WikiLeaks. The significance of it has to see all personalities that form. Journalists, filmmakers, and political developments up a website for the organization, freedom of expression and the elimination of U.S. government censorship, a inicitiva WikiLeaks the name of Open Letter.

As I said, the website is a window to give “air” to the current situation and the very Assange WikiLeaks. A management response to the government, the lies and accusations to which they are being subjected as well Assange WikiLeaks.

Signed by over 200 people from various professions, the letter is intended to show that government action is not being that of a serious body. To give more coverage to it, influential people in American society has been the face with the signing of the letter. Known figures like Noam Chomsky, Terry Jones, Michael Kennedy, Michael Leight, Salman Rushdie, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Di Costanzo, James Fox and organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, who wanted to give the middle most of the broadcasts. The letter speaks for itself, and is on the web along with information that will be updated regularly on everything that happened around WikiLeaks. I leave you with the letter:

We believe in the existence of free societies around the world, which with the help of journalism called to account by government and corporations. We believe that the right to publish is equivalent to the right of citizens to be informed. While we believe in personal privacy and accept the need for confidentiality, we affirm that the disclosure to the public interest is fundamental. Freedom, responsibility and true democratic election can only be guaranteed through a rigorous scrutiny. We defend the right to publish the truth in a responsible manner without hindrance and without any persecution by the state. The primary duty of journalists in all parts of the world is to advance the cause of understanding, not to help governments and power interests in the suppression of information, and not to postpone the already ingrained habits of secrecy.

With these principles in mind, we declare our support for the publication of the documents released through leaks, leaks. They have shed significant light on the behavior of governments and corporations in the modern world. WikiLeaks has done a great service to humanity. We denounce tremendously death threats directed against their prosecution for publishing director, along with many organizations around the world, information that is clearly of public interest.

Those who are in power or authority to routinely oppose such disclosure, as they did during the long struggle to publish the proceedings of the British Parliament for over two hundred years ago to release the Pentagon Papers. We believe that no democracy has been marred by increased knowledge and understanding of the public. Therefore, we, the undersigned, pledge our unwavering support to the principles and the opening of the investigative report, and condemn the forces that threaten them both.

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Group of 200 sign letter defending WikiLeaks

From Liberal Conspiracy | April 8 2011.

More than 200 prominent public figures have signed a letter published in New Statesman today strongly defending WikiLeaks’ right to publish.

Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, authors Philip Pullman and Salman Rushdie, as well as actors Susan Sarandon, Laura Wade, Oliver Stone, Steve Coogan, Woody Harrelson and Sam West are among the list of those whom “strenuously denounce” threats of death and prosecution made against WikiLeaks’ director Julian Assange by prominent US politicians.

The letter, presented by the Frontline Club, was assembled by a group of well-known publishers, journalists and filmmakers known as the Committee for the Right to Publish, which includes writer Henry Porter and human rights activist Jemima Khan.

Henry Porter said:

In drafting this letter, we sought to reassert a principle that is easily forgotten in times of change and crisis. We believe that the letter should become a kind declaration that can be signed the world over by journalists and all those who understand the importance of information to democracy.

Translated into nine languages, the letter is supported by the organisations OpenDemocracy, Reporters Without Borders, The Newspaper Guild (Communications Workers of America), The International Federation of Journalists and Article 19.

Liberal Conspiracy editor Sunny Hundal is also one of the original 200 signatories.

The full letter
Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks’ Right to Publish

We believe that free societies everywhere are best served by journalism that holds governments and corporations to account. We assert that the right to publish is equal to, and the consequence of, the citizen’s right to know.

While we believe in personal privacy and accept a need for confidentiality, we hold that disclosure in the public interest is paramount. Liberty, accountability and true democratic choice can only be guaranteed by rigorous scrutiny.

We defend the right to publish the truth responsibly without obstruction and persecution by the state. The primary duty of journalists everywhere is to advance the cause of understanding, not to assist governments and powerful interests in suppressing information, and never to defer to ingrained habits of secrecy.

With these principles in mind, we declare our support for the publication of documents released through leaks. They have cast significant light on the behaviour of governments and corporations in the modern world. WikiLeaks has done the world great service. We strenuously denounce the threats of death and criminal prosecution of its director for publishing, together with many organisations throughout the world, information that is clearly in the public interest.

Those in authority routinely oppose such disclosure, as they have done since the struggle to publish the proceedings of the British Parliament over two hundred years ago right through to the release of the Pentagon Papers.

We believe no democracy has ever been harmed by an increase in the public’s knowledge and understanding.Therefore, we, the undersigned, declare our unyielding support for the principles of journalistic inquiry and openness, and condemn the forces that threaten both.

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Jemima Khan explains her support for the Open Letter

I have been a passionate supporter of WikiLeaks’s right to publish with impunity (see the open letter on page 6). The publication of the US diplomatic cables was of immense public interest. The revelations were startling: Washington was conducting wars in Pakistan and Yemen despite official denials; it had encouraged its diplomats at the United Nations to spy on their counterparts; Libya had threatened to impose trade sanctions on the UK if Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was not released; Pope Benedict had impeded child sex abuse investigations within the Catholic Church; the US and China had tried to derail talks on climate change. The cables exposed government corruption, war crimes and human rights abuses. If WikiLeaks had existed ten years ago, would there have been any need for a Chilcot inquiry into the illegal Iraq war?

Read the full article at: http://www.newstatesman.com/digital/2011/04/human-rights-public-wikileaks

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Open Letter published in New Statesman magazine

The Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks’ Right to Publish features in this week’s edition of the New Statesman magazine, guest edited by open letter committee member Jemima Khan.

Buy your copy here and turn to page six. It is a brilliant edition, which also features an essay by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

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Coalition of actors, writers and academics defend WikiLeaks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

More than 200 prominent public figures have signed a letter published in New Statesman today strongly defending WikiLeaks’ right to publish.

Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, authors Philip Pullman and Salman Rushdie, as well as actors Susan Sarandon, Laura Wade, Oliver Stone, Steve Coogan, Woody Harrelson  and Sam West are among the list of those whom “strenuously denounce” threats of death and prosecution made against WikiLeaks’ director Julian Assange by prominent US politicians.

The letter, presented by the Frontline Club, was assembled by a group of well-known publishers, journalists and filmmakers known as the Committee for the Right to Publish (1), which includes writer Henry Porter and human rights activist Jemima Khan.

Henry Porter said: “There are lot of open letters around these days, but this one – signed by over 200 activists, writers and journalists – is of vital importance because it declares support for one of the fundamental mechanisms of a free society, which is that responsibly published information improves the accountability and performance of governments and big corporations.

“In drafting this letter, we sought to reassert a principle that is easily forgotten in times of change and crisis. We believe that the letter should become a kind declaration that can be signed the world over by journalists and all those who understand the importance of information to democracy.”

Members of the public are being urged to sign the letter, which its authors say “aims to prove that there is a serious body of international public opinion against any future attempts to clamp down on, intimidate or crush leakers and those who publish leaks.”

Jemima Khan said: “If WikiLeaks had existed ten years ago, would there have been any need for a Chilcot inquiry into the illegal Iraq war?

“Defenders of government secrecy who claim that we are safer if the public is kept in ignorance are essentially advocating Chinese or Russian models of deceit, censorship and obfuscation.

“Democracy depends on a strong, free and responsible media as well as an informed public.”

Translated into nine languages, the letter is supported by the organisations OpenDemocracy, Reporters Without Borders, The Newspaper Guild (Communications Workers of America), The International Federation of Journalists and Article 19.

The Open Letter can be signed at www.wikileaksopenletter.com

ENDS

Notes to editors

(1) The Committee for the Right to Publish are: writer Henry Porter, human rights campaigner Jemima Khan, journalists Charles Glass, Rachel Johnson and Elaine Potter, filmmakers Roger Graef and Vaughan Smith (chair) and publishers Tony Curzon Price and Anthony Barnett.

(2) Along with many others, the letter has been signed by: Lisa Appignanesi, John Berger, Fatima Bhutto, Rachel Billington, Rosie Boycott, Heather Brooke, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockburn, Steve Coogan, Jeremy Dear, Molly Dineen, Ariel Dorfman, David Edgar, Daniel Ellsberg, Bill Emmott, Richard Eyre, John Kampfner, Woody Harrelson, Sue Hollick, Hugh Hudson, Will Hutton, Helena Kennedy, Imran Khan, Philip Knightley, Hanif Kureishi, Mike Leigh, Kim Longinotto, Edward MacMillan Scott, Terry McDonell, Michael Moore, Philip Pullman, David Puttnam, Salman Rushdie, Richard Sambrook, Susan Sarandon, Alexandra Shulman, Tom Stoppard, Oliver Stone, Laura Wade, Marina Warner, AN Wilson. (to view the full list, visit http://wikileaksopenletter.com/website/list/)

(3) For the full text of the open letter, please see the .pdf file attached.

(4) Julian Assange is set to feature at an adversarial debate organised by the Frontline Club and New Statesman on Saturday 9th April at 5pm. Details can be found here.

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Special debate: this house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place

Join the Frontline Club and New Statesman for a provocative public debate featuring Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.

Over the past 12 months, official secrecy has been challenged like never before. Three of the biggest ever leaks of classified information – the Iraq War Logs, the Afghanistan War Logs and Cablegate – shook the world and prompted governments to reconsider how they share information.

Since the start of the Obama administration in 2009, the US government has brought charges against five defendants suspected of leaking classified information. Before Obama, the US government had only ever filed similar charges three times in 40 years.

For this very special event at Kensington Town Hall, the New Statesman and the Frontline Club host a challenging debate in which some of the most prominent public figures on secrecy and transparency issues will go head to head.

Amid the intensifying crackdown on whistleblowers, the debate will ask: are UK and US officials correct to argue that those who publish leaks threaten national security? Or do we need them to expose wrongdoing because, as transparency advocates argue, governments always abuse secrecy?

The event will feature an interactive section where the audience will be able to vote on the motion.

Chair: Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman.

Proposition:

Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks

Julian Assange is the 39-year-old editor in chief of WikiLeaks. Queensland-born Assange has been the subject of public calls for his assassination from leading US politicians and faces an ongoing espionage investigation. In 2010 he overwhelmingly won Time magazine’s Readers’ Choice Person of the Year poll and was named Le Monde’s Man of the Year. He has also been awarded the Amnesty International UK Media Award and the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. In February 2011 his organisation, WikiLeaks, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after publishing three of the biggest leaks of classified information in history, the Afghan War Diaries, the Iraq War Logs and Cablegate.

Clayton Swisher, head of Al-Jazeera’s Transparency Unit

Clayton Swisher is the head of Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit (the team that produced the Palestine Papers in January 2011). An ex-federal investigator-turned-investigative journalist, he is a former Director of Programs at the Middle East Institute and a current term member with the Council on Foreign Relations. As a journalist he has covered the 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the on-going war in Afghanistan, and has also authored two books: The Truth About Camp David (New York: Nation Books, 2004) and The Palestine Papers: The End of the Road? (London: Hesperus, Mar 31, 2011).

Mehdi Hasan, senior political editor, New Statesman

Mehdi Hasan is a former editor in the news-and-current-affairs department at Channel 4, where he worked on the award-winning Dispatches documentary strand. He is a regular guest on Sky News and the BBC, appearing regularly on Question Time and The Daily Politics. He is an occasional presenter on LBC radio and the co-author of a forthcoming biography of Ed Miliband – Ed Miliband and the Remaking of the Labour Party (London: Biteback, summer 2011).

Opposition:

Sir David Richmond, former director, defence and intelligence, British Foreign & Commonwealth Office

David Richmond was a British diplomat for more than 30 years. His career included postings to Baghdad, Brussels and New York, where he worked on the UN Security Council. In 2000 he became the first UK representative to the EU’s political and security committee in Brussels and was closely involved in the creation of European security and defence policy. In 2003 he returned to Baghdad (where he had first been posted 20 years earlier) and was later appointed UK Special Representative for Iraq. In his last posting, he was director general for general defence and intelligence and a member of the Foreign Office Board.

Bob Ayers, former director of the US Department of Defence Information Systems Security Programme

Bob Ayers had a distinguished career in the US government. In 1992, he was appointed director of the defence department’s Information Systems Security Programme. He next assumed the post of director, defensive information warfare, leading the programme designed to protect DoD systems from systematic cyber attacks. From 1990-92, he was responsible for the security of more than 40,000 classified intelligence-processing systems at 55 locations across the world. Bob is a noted public figure, appearing on television and radio in the US, in the UK and worldwide, and publishing many articles.

Douglas Murray, author and political commentator

Douglas Murray is a bestselling writer and award-winning political commentator. Since 2007 he has been director of the Centre for Social Cohesion. From April 2011 he will be associate director of the Henry Jackson Society. Murray appears regularly in the British and foreign media. A frequent guest on Question Time and Newsnight, he is also a columnist for Standpoint magazine and writes for many other publications, including the Spectator and Wall Street Journal. In 2008 he co-authored Victims of Intimidation: Freedom of Speech Within Europe’s Muslim Communities. His latest book, on the Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday, will be published later this year.

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