COMMENT:

I am just awaiting the Mayor of Auckland's announcement that Chelsea Manning will not be allowed to speak at a council-owned facility.

Do you think one is coming? I doubt it.

Chelsea Manning is a crook, and the National Party are right to be wanting her banned.

Advertisement

Chelsea was, of course, Bradley when Bradley became infamous for giving Wikileaks hundreds of thousands of documents from the military that were highly classified. Bradley was court martialed and spent seven years in jail.

Now in this country at least, and certainly in Australia, we have laws about making money off crime. The Australians got all twisted up in it with Schapelle Corby.

And it's debatable, I suppose, as to whether, on those rules, you can prevent a person entering another country, given the crime was in America.

But there is certainly the principle.

Here is your simple reality: Manning would not be here if it wasn't for her criminality.
If it wasn't for the stealing and leaking of classified paperwork that ran the risk of undermining American security, you would never have heard of her. Far less be in a position to consider buying tickets and lining her, and her promoters', pockets.

Which brings us to free speech - the same free speech we were angsting about a few weeks ago when those Canadian right wingers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were here.

I support free speech, I would have let those two in, not because I have any particular interest in what they have to say, but because they are free to say it. And if we are to choke off all discourse every time it might look like we don't like what is being said, we are on a very slippery slope.

Which is what made Phil Goff's moves so egregious, and every other hand-wringer that lined up behind him.

Advertisement

Even the Prime Minister, in a very good Helen Clark impersonation, decided on behalf of all of us that we didn't want them here. She had no reason whatsoever to make that statement, other than the age-old fault of projecting her personal feelings onto everyone else.

So on a free speech platform Manning deserves a go, if it were not for the critical fact that she's a criminal - and wants to make money from criminal activity.

That is fundamentally, morally, and intellectually wrong.

And not just in this specific case, but the precedent it sets. If crooks are free to create income from illegality, where do we draw that line? That's a Pandora's Box we do not want to open.

The only good thing I have to say about Manning is at least she got caught and served her time - as opposed to her fellow conspirator Julian Assange who ran for the hills and still hides out, knowing he's no better than her.