- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
Though still confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is evidently taking a page from Eugene V. Debs‘ book and planning a run for senate in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Mr Assange said plans to register an Australian WikiLeaks party were ”significantly advanced”. He indicated he would be a Senate candidate, and added that "a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public" have indicated their availability to stand for election on a party ticket.
Mr Assange said he is able to fulfil the requirements to register as an overseas elector in either New South Wales or Victoria and that he will shortly take a "strategic decision" about which state he would be a Senate candidate for.[…]
If Mr Assange were elected but he was unable to return to Australia to take up his position, a nominee would occupy a Senate seat.
Mr Assange said he had been "quite encouraged" by series of published polls through the past two years that showed support for WikiLeaks had remained "consistently high".
Opinion polls this year by UMR Research, the company the Labor Party uses for its internal polling, have suggested that Mr Assange could be a competitive Senate candidate in either NSW or Victoria, most likely fighting it out with the Australian Greens for the last of six seats up for grabs in each state in a half-Senate election.
In case you’re wondering, election to the Senate wouldn’t confer diplomatic or sovereign immunity from prosecution on Assange, and Australian parliamentarians are not protected from criminal prosecution for activities unrelated to their position.
But even if election wouldn’t have any bearing on Assange’s current legal predicament, it could have other advantages. Australian parliamentarians "cannot be sued or prosecuted for anything they say or do in the course of parliamentary proceedings."
At times, politicians have taken advantage of this privilege. Last year, Senator Nick Xenophon used it to publicly name a catholic priest accused of rape. It certainly seems like the sort of advantage someone in the secret-telling business could find a way to take advantage of.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |