Retaliation, Australian style

As reported by TG Daily, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had his passport taken from him upon arrival in Melbourne, Australia, and was later told his passport would be cancelled. I have verified this story with other sources and none of them cite an official reason.

Thus, we are then left to assume that this is direct and wanton retaliation for Julian’s activities related to Wikileaks, specifically (quoting the article):

Last year, Wikileaks published a list of websites which were to be banned under the government’s proposed internet filter. While the aim of the filter is to block extreme pornography and the like, the blacklist included a number of more prosaic sites such as those of a travel company and a dentist.

Assange said that shortly after his passport was returned he was questioned about a hacking offence committed when he was a teenager.

(I’ll get to the second part in a bit.)

From the looks of things, it appears the Australian government has serious issues with the freedom of information. It is a safe assumption that Australia’s own citizens will be paying for this filtering system through government taxes. As such, they have the right to know what exactly this filter is blocking, and I would also argue the right to opt out of it should they so choose. The blocking of a travel company and dentist, among other obviously non-pornographic sites, falls well within what Australia’s citizens have a right to know. In fact, depending on exactly how the filtering works, it’s something the rest of the world has a right to know as well.

This is an egregious case of censorship by the Australian government and to say the least, it really burns me up. My question: since it is obvious Julian does not like Australia, what is the point in not letting him leave (the obvious consequence of a cancelled passport)?

Now, about the second part. I am quite disturbed that the government of Australia would bring into play an offense Julian committed nearly two decades ago (and an obvious misdemeanor at that), and imply that it is somehow relevant to who he is today. It isn’t, really. If a misdemeanor from 19 years ago is being worked into the reason his passport is being cancelled, we have even more reason to despise and distrust the Australian government.

Interesting sidenote: Until reading about him on Wikipedia, I didn’t know Julian was the author of the Strobe portscanner. In my early years learning about network security, I used Strobe for many portscans prior to learning of the existence of Nmap (I did not begin using GNU/Linux until 1998).

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