Mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lashed out at Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, dubbing her a "sycophant" of the US. Christine Assange was quoted by AAP as saying that Gillard's views about her whistleblower son's activities are costing her support within her party and among voters who see the democratic value of his work.
She said that Gillard has failed to show Australians she's a guardian of free speech, instead taking a fawning approach to satisfy Australia's key ally. Her comments follow as her son Julian prepares to face a London court for legal proceedings to have him extradited to Sweden, to face possible sexual assault charges.
Assange said the Federal Government must facilitate her son's return to Australia and give an iron clad guarantee it won't hand him over to the US government. Australian Federal Police later said no Australian laws were breached by the release of the cables but Gillard insisted WikiLeaks' work was based on document theft.
"We have a system that separates the legal system and the political system as a safeguard for the people and she doesn't seem to be able to understand that basic premise," Assange said adding, "Perhaps she needs to brush up a little bit on what that means for a democracy".
She added, "There is a lot of dissention among her ranks in the Labour Party over it. She has to be a true leader and not a sycophant of the US and in fact maybe help the US realise their freedom of speech is one of the most important attributes of their culture".
Christine said the US spoke about transparency, but in reality it "sought to veil". "The US claims to have the moral high ground in the human rights area and to be an example to the rest of the world. But when people act upon these freedoms they now want to act like Third World dictators," she said.
"This is the time for Julia Gillard to stand up and say, `you are an ally but we think you're going down the wrong path on this issue and we can't walk down that path with you".
Christine said her son faced a lynch mob mentality, if he was handed over the US after 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin called Assange a "an anti American operative with blood on his hands" and questioned why he wasn't "pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders".
Christine made a fresh appeal for supporters to donate to a new legal defence fund for her son, set up after his accounts were frozen. "His legal team is a top legal team and they need to have money," she said, adding the money would go directly to his lawyers. She said people could donate to the fund by going to the WikiLeaks website.