[Marxism] Australian Wikileaks Party seeks role as Assad PR club in war on terror

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Mon Dec 30 17:49:06 MST 2013

Australia's Wikileaks Party, set up to support the freedom of 
information aims of its founder, has decided the best way to advance 
these aims is to become a PR machine for the Baathist tyranny in Syria 
(indeed right at the moment it is literally ripping hundreds of people 
to bits in Aleppo with a fortnight of barrel-bombing) and to become part 
of the "war on terror" machinery:

""I think that the Syrian people in their courage are an example to the 
rest of the world in how to resist this plague of terrorism which is 
sweeping the Middle East and Central Asia," Mr Shipton told The News, an 
English-language television news program."

WikiLeaks Party team meets Bashar al-Assad

  a.. by:JARED OWENS
  b.. From:The Australian
  c.. December 31, 201312:00AM
Bashar al-Assad, centre left, meets professor Tim Anderson, right, and a 
delegation of academics and activists including, from top right, John 
Shipton, Jamal Daoud and Gail Malone in Damascus.Source: AP

AS Syrian bombs rained down on civilians in Aleppo last week, a 
delegation from the WikiLeaks Party met dictator Bashar al-Assad in 
Damascus to affirm "the solidarity of the Australian people".

The WikiLeaks "solidarity delegation" enjoyed access to the highest 
levels of the Syrian regime, including Assad, an alleged war criminal, 
and heard stories about Canberra conspiring to cover up a Sydney imam's 
role in the kidnapping of civilians by militants near the Turkish 

The delegation - comprising Julian Assange's father John Shipton, Sydney 
University academic Tim Anderson (who was acquitted of the 1978 Sydney 
Hilton bombing), Sydney Shia activist Jamal Daoud and WikiLeaks activist 
Gail Malone - also toured the sights of Damascus, including the city's 
Umayyad mosque and met Antiochian Orthodox patriarch John X.

Speaking on Syrian television, Mr Shipton announced plans to establish a 
WikiLeaks Party office in Damascus, saying he wanted "to show the 
solidarity of the Australian people and Wikileaks Party with the 
difficulties that Syria is having at the moment".

"I think that the Syrian people in their courage are an example to the 
rest of the world in how to resist this plague of terrorism which is 
sweeping the Middle East and Central Asia," Mr Shipton told The News, an 
English-language television news program.

"We'll continue to expose the truth to the Australian people and to our 
international audience and next year we'll set up an office in 

Syria's civil war has reportedly killed more than 125,000 people since 
Assad's forces launched a brutal crackdown on opponents in March 2011.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said this month 
that evidence collected from Syria implicated "the highest level of 
government, including the head of state" in war crimes.

Chris Ray, an Australian journalist who attended some of the meetings in 
Damascus, told The Australian the delegates had access to "about 
everybody from al-Assad down", hearing briefings on Australian fighters 
who had entered Syria to fight for the rebels, some of whom had been 
killed. He said the delegation was informed about a prominent Sydney 
imam who was allegedly "responsible for" the kidnapping of 106 women and 
children during a massacre of civilians by rebels in the province of 
Latakia on August 4.

Human Rights Watch found the rebels killed at least 190 civilians, threw 
bodies in mass graves and kidnapped at least 200 people, including 
dozens of child hostages, whom they later paraded in a video posted on 
YouTube. The fate of the alleged hostages is unknown.

Speaking through an interpreter, Information Minister Omran al-Zouby 
told them that Canberra was aware of the sheik's involvement in the 
kidnappings, which allegedly included "using Australian telephone 
networks", but had "turned a blind eye".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: "The Australian government takes 
seriously any allegation of illegal behaviour involving our citizens or 
people living in this country.

"If the Syrian government has evidence of any illegal conduct they 
should forward that information to the appropriate law enforcement 
agencies in this country."

The Australian has decided not to name the sheik, as it has been unable 
to verify independently the allegations or reach him for comment.

WikiLeaks Party national secretary Matt Watt characterised the 
delegation as a "fact-finding rebuilding, reconstruction and peace 

Asked if the team had visited the scenes of alleged war crimes during 
the tour, he said: "They have had to be very careful on this trip. 
Obviously you can't just walk across the border, so it is an organised 
trip with the government to gain access, and that's put some 
restrictions on them."

The delegation's audiences included meetings with Prime Minister Wael 
al-Halqi, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad, Higher Education 
Minister Malek Ali and the Speaker of the Syrian People's Assembly Jihad 

Mr Miqdad, who is to represent Syria at the Geneva peace talks scheduled 
for next month, and who spoke to the delegation in English, said his 
government was defending the only secular state in the Middle East 
against terrorism financed and armed mainly from Saudi Arabia and also 
from "certain extremist groups in Australia that take care of fighters", 
Ray said.

Asked to comment on the Australian Federal Police's recent arrests of 
two Sydney men over an alleged attempt to travel to Syria to join the 
fighting, Mr Muqdad said: "I'm really happy that understanding has 
started to take place, but those governments who claim that this was not 
very clear from the beginning are big liars. They knew from the 
beginning who was financing these terrorists."

Although the delegates were travelling and could not be reached 
yesterday, they have been publishing information about their mission on 

On December 22, Mr Daoud wrote: "After we met with Syrian Prime Minister 
and Deputy Foreign Minister, we understood how Syrians defeated the 
conspiracy of more than 86 countries against the country."

Dr Anderson, a member of protest group Hands Off Syria and a senior 
lecturer in political economy at Sydney University, wrote on December 
27: "The scale of destruction of health facilities, combined with 
attacks on schools, universities and massacres of civilians - often 
falsely blamed on the government - shows the NATO-backed armed groups 
have been intent on destroying a functioning state, and have no interest 
in trying to win public support."

Dr Anderson, a former member of the Ananda Marga religious sect, was 
jailed and later acquitted of the terrorist bombing of the Sydney Hilton 
that killed two council workers and a police officer in 1978.

He was told by Health Minister Sa'ad al-Nayef that "foreign-backed 
terrorists had detonated two truck bombs, completely destroying the 
hospital" and that "all health workers inside were killed in the blast," 
according to an article posted by the academic on December 26.

Mr Shipton, Mr Daoud and Ms Malone are all on the national council of 
the WikiLeaks Party, which received 0.66 per cent of the national Senate 
primary vote on September 7.

The WikiLeaks Party's former campaign manager, barrister Greg Barns, 
yesterday fended off "childish" and "McCarthyist" claims that the party 
was "in bed with" Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin

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