Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Posh London Clubman Defends Julian Assange

He's Vaughan Smith, founder of London's Frontline Club, and he's posted his manifesto on the club website:
Statement by Vaughan Smith re: Julian Assange

Dear friends of Frontline, many of you will have seen Julian Assange and the Wikileaks people at Frontline. I wanted to copy you the press release that I sent out today. Very best, Vaughan

“I attended court today to offer my support for Julian Assange of Wikileaks on a point of principle.

“In the face of a concerted attempt to shut him down and after a decade since 9/11 that has been characterised by manipulation of the media by the authorities, the information released by Wikileaks is a refreshing glimpse into an increasingly opaque world.”

The Frontline Club was founded seven years ago to stand for independence and transparency.

Recent informal canvassing of many of our more than 1,500 members at the Frontline Club suggests almost all are supportive of our position.

I am suspicious of the personal charges that have been made against Mr Assange and hope that this will be properly resolved by the courts. Certainly no credible charges have been brought regarding the leaking of the information itself.

I can confirm that Mr Assange has spent much of the last several months working from our facilities at the Frontline Club. Earlier today I offered him an address for bail.

7pm. Tuesday 7 December. ---

Vaughan Smith
More on the club's charitable trust and its mission, from the website:
About the Trust

Since registering with the Charity Commission in 2006, the Trust has vigorously worked to promote freedom of expression and excellence in journalism both in the UK and overseas.

In London, the Trust runs a busy programme of events programme including talks and screening that cover a wide variety of topics and issues. The Trust organises over 200 events a year.

Overseeing the work of the FCCT is the Board of Trustees, consisting of distinguished media professionals and members of the NGO sector. Currently the board includes John Owen and Keith Coleman.

The Trust is funded by the business operations of the Frontline Club, including the restaurant and the membership. This income helps cover most of the costs from our events programme but external funding is also used to support individual strands and seasons. Supporters include the Open Society Foundation, BBC World Service Trust, Potter Foundation, Chivas Regals, Canon etc.
Smith's Wikipedia entry here.