Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


WikiLeaks party under fire for Assad talks

31 December 2013, 15:16

Sydney - Whistleblowing group WikiLeaks said on Tuesday it had no knowledge of and did not approve a delegation to Syria which met President Bashar Assad and included members of Australia's WikiLeaks Party.

The delegation, aimed at showing solidarity with the Syrian people and opposing Western military intervention, reportedly included WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's father John Shipton, CEO of the political party.

The group met with Assad on 23 December, according to a post on the Syrian president's Twitter feed.

The visit triggered a furore when revealed in Australia on Tuesday, with the centre-left Labour opposition describing it as "extraordinary" and "irresponsible".

"The Assad regime has been widely criticised and correctly criticised around the world," said Labour frontbencher Chris Bowen.

"For an Australian political party to think it's sensible to go and have discussions and try and provide some legitimacy, is something I think which they have to explain."

The WikiLeaks Party was founded by Assange as part of his failed campaign for election to Australia's parliament this year, but is distinct from the amorphous whistleblowing group.


WikiLeaks distanced itself from the delegation when asked about it on Tuesday.

"Peace brokering a good idea, but obvious meeting would be spun without care. Did not know or approve," it said on its official Twitter feed.

According to The Australian newspaper, the delegation included Shipton and WikiLeaks national council member Gail Malone, as well as Sydney university academic Tim Anderson and refugee activist Jamal Daoud.

Shipton announced plans to set up a WikiLeaks Party office in Damascus in a show of solidarity with ordinary Syrians, The Australian said.

The WikiLeaks Party said a "formal report from the fact finding delegation will be published once the delegates return to Australia", in a brief statement on its Twitter feed.

In a 22 December website post announcing it would take part in the "solidarity delegation", the WikiLeaks Party said the visit was to show opposition to violence and Western military intervention.

Fabrications and lies

"The WikiLeaks Party was the first party in Australia to warn of the deadly consequences of any Western military intervention in Syria", the post said.

"It went further by questioning the credibility of the excuses of such intervention based on unsubstantiated reports of the Syrian Army's use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

"The same excuses", which turned out to be "no more than fabrications and lies" had been used to justify the US-led war in Iraq, the party said.

Disarmament teams returned Scandinavian escort vessels to port on Monday after it became apparent that an end-of-year deadline for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons would not be met.

The US-Russia deal for Syria to surrender more than 1 000 tonnes of chemical agents averted US-led military strikes after a chemical weapons attack on 21 August near Damascus that the United States says killed 1 400 people.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...