Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
First Full Interview W/Assange in his 2 year stay in Ecuador Embassy in London!! Interesting!
Exclusive: Inside Embassy Refuge, Julian Assange on WikiLeaks, Snowden & His New Bid for Freedom

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange joins us from Ecuador's Embassy in London. It is the first time a U.S. news program has gone inside Assange's place of refuge, where he has entered his third year in political asylum while he faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. In the United States, a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as classified State Department cables. In Sweden, Assange is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. Late last week, there was the first break in the latter case in two years, when a Swedish court announced it would hold a hearing on July 16 about a request by his lawyers for prosecutors to hand over new evidence and withdraw the arrest warrant. In the first of a two-part interview, Assange discusses his new legal bid in Sweden, the ongoing grand jury probe in the United States, and WikiLeaks' efforts to assist National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to a Democracy Now! exclusive. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has just entered his third year inside Ecuador's Embassy in London where he has political asylum. Assange faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. Here in the U.S., a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. In Sweden, he's wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. Late last week, there was the first break in the Swedish case in two years. A Swedish court announced it would hold a hearing July 16th over a request by his lawyers for prosecutors to hand over new evidence and withdraw the arrest warrant.
Well, late last night, we flew back to New York after interviewing Julian Assange inside the embassy.
AMY GOODMAN: The Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Julian Assange is holed uphe has been here for just over two years, just celebrated his 43rd birthday inside the embassy. Here you can see the British police, and right in front of me is the balcony where Julian Assange has come out and addressed his supporters and addressed the media. The Ecuadorean flag hangs from that balcony. As to when Julian Assange will come out, well, he is concerned, if he steps foot outside, he will be arrested by the British police. So, for now, he's inside, this nomad of the digital age.
We're in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Julian Assange took refuge two years ago. He's been detained in Britain for close now to four years.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Julian.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: How are you doing here? It's been over two years that you have really not seen daylight for any extended period of time.
JULIAN ASSANGE: There's been nearly four years that I've been detained without charge, in one form or another, here in the United Kingdom, first in prison, the solitary confinement, then under house arrest for about 18 months, and now two years here in the embassy. The Ecuadorean government gave me political asylum in relation to the ongoing national security investigation by the DOJ, the Department of Justice, in the United States into our publications and also into sourcing efforts. So, did I enter into a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced last year to 35 years in prison?
So, the question as to how I'm doing, of course, personally, it's a difficult situation, in a variety of ways. I would say that when someone's in this position, what you are most concerned about is the interruption in your family relationships. So, because of the security situation, that's made it very hard for my children and my parents.
But if we look at the bigger picture, WikiLeaks, as an organization, has survived that attack by the U.S. government, and we've gone on to do further work and some quite significant work. Unlike many media organizations during that period, we have not gone bankrupt, despite a worldwide, extrajudicial banking blockade by Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and so on, and none of our members of staff have been fired. So, I think if you went back and said to yourself, "What are the chances that a small investigative publisher could publish this information about the Iraq War and the State Department and the Afghanistan War and many other documents about Guantánamo, and enter into conflict with the United States government in a very serious way, would they still be publishing? Would their people be in prison?" and you would think, probably, yes. But actually, we have managed to mostly overcome, apart from my situation here, the barriers that have been put up against us.
AMY GOODMAN: So, July 16th is a significant date. You are wanted in two investigations, or you're being investigated by the U.S. government because, as you said, of WikiLeaks, of exposing many documentstens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? How many would you say? Around the Iraq War
JULIAN ASSANGE: Eight million so far.
AMY GOODMAN: Eight millionaround the Iraq War, around the Afghanistan War, and cables of the State Department that go back for decades. You're also wanted by Sweden for questioning, often misstated as "because you've been charged"
AMY GOODMAN: for questioning around sexual misconduct. And July 16th is a big date in that case. Why?
JULIAN ASSANGE: While most of our resources have been concerned with the ongoing U.S. investigation and pending prosecution, which the U.S.which the DOJ admits to in its court filing of the 25th of April this year, continues, the Swedish investigation has obstructed my asylum. So, United Kingdom says, "Look, there's this questioning warrant that Sweden has put out for you. They may have dropped the case," which they did and re-raised it, "but nonetheless there's this questioning warrant, and therefore we say you cannot go to Ecuador to accept asylum until we've extradited you to Sweden." Now, that is actually a violation of international law. The international law is quite clear: Asylum trumps extradition, because of the nature of the relationships with the U.N. and the 1951 asylum convention. So, every time we try and we get some traction publicly and politically in the U.S. case, people say, "Oh, no, no, the whole thing is really about the Swedish case." So it's quite important to deal with the Swedish matter and kind of show it for what it is and that it should be dropped.
There has been no movement. Although the Swedish government is obligated to somehow progress the situation, they've been very happy to keep it a complete stasis. They've refused to come here to speak to me here or pick up a telephone or to accept an affidavit. They have also refused to provide a guarantee that I will not be extradited to the United States if I offer to go to Sweden. So, that situation means we have to tackle the Swedish matter, it seems, in Sweden. The only other alternative is perhaps going to the International Court of Justice in relation to the asylum.
Anyway, so it will be the first date in nearly fourin four years that the matter has been heard about in Sweden. And my lawyers are confident that either in the lower court, and more likely the appeal court, we will be able to dismiss the case, because the law is reasonably clear. You're meant to proceed withthe Swedish government has an obligation under its own law to proceed with maximum speed, with minimum cost, and also with bringing the minimum suspicion on the person who's being investigated. And it is in clear violation of all those points of law.
AMY GOODMAN: This hearing that will take place on July 16th is a result of an appeal by your Swedish lawyers. Why didn't they appeal before?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, several things have happened in the interim. Because of the abuses in this case and some other cases, new European law was introduced and pulled inand enacted in Sweden. And it was meant to be enacted by June the 1st this year; it wasn't. But by July the 1st it should have come on board, so just recently. So that new legislation permits people who are suspects, who had their liberty deprived in some way, to be able to access evidence that shows that they're innocent. And so, we understand that there's significant evidence that was collected by the police that show that I am innocent, and they have thus far refused to hand it over. But this new European law means that they have to hand it over.
AMY GOODMAN: In affidavits that I have read, your lawyers were allowed to see text messages of the women who have accused you.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, what's hard toyou have to be careful in saying that they have accused me, because actually when you read their correspondence and their early statements, they don't say that at all. In fact, they say that they didn't accuse me and that the police took the matter and the state accused me, that they didn't want any charges, that they weren't filing a formal complaint. That's what they say in those text messages.
AMY GOODMAN: Your lawyers weren't able to get copies of them at this point, but they were allowed to look at them.
AMY GOODMAN: One of them saying something like, "I did not want to put any charges on Julian Assange, but that the police were keen on getting a grip on him"?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, and that she was railroaded into things and really did notshe did not want what occurred to occur.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you were questioned in Sweden originally, and the chief prosecutor actuallyis it the prosecutor who dropped the case against you?
JULIAN ASSANGE: The chief prosecutor of Stockholm reviewed the material very early on in the case and dropped the rape complaint, dropped it, said there's nosaid, "It's not that I don't believe what the women say, but there's just no evidence that any crime has been committed." And so, the matter was dropped. Then, subsequently, a senior Swedish politician, Claes Borgström, who was running for election, then took it to Gothenburg, a city which has nothing to do with the case, and resurrected it under another prosecutor.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, what could happen on July 16th?
JULIAN ASSANGE: The options for them, they can simplythey can dismiss it; they can say that the law is unclear and ask maybe European Court of Justice to give clarity on this new European law and how it is to be implemented.
AMY GOODMAN: There's also a law here that was just passed in Britain that seems to have come about as a result of your case. Unfortunately, you're not protected under it.
JULIAN ASSANGE: That's a very important development. So, as a result of the abuses in my case, which were seen by the Supreme Courtthere was a split in the Supreme Court.
AMY GOODMAN: Here in Britain.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Here in Britain. And subsequently, the Cambridge Journal of Comparative Law wrote two papers about what had happened. And there's a lot of concern about this idea that you could extradite someone without even charging them. So, political pressurethere was a backbench revolt in the British Parliament, principally amongst the conservative backbench, that this wasyou know, that any police officer in Europe could just ask for someone in the U.K. to be extradited without it going before a court and without them being charged. And so new legislation was introduced to prevent that happening. So, no more extradition without charge from the U.K. But there was then debate that, "Well, will this in fact protect Assange?" And so, a specific clause was entered into it that it will not be retrospective for those people where the court has decided that they will be extradited, but they haven't been extradited yetwhich just applies to me.
AMY GOODMAN: WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been holed up for more than two years. When we come back, in this sitdown interview, I talk to Assange about my interview with the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, about Assange's case. And I get Assange's response to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments calling for Edward Snowden to come back to the United States to face a trial. We also learn how Assange helped facilitate Snowden's departure from Hong Kong. All that and more, coming up. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, just back from London. We return now to my interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from inside Ecuador's Embassy in London this weekend, where he has political asylum and has been living for over two years.
AMY GOODMAN: I just came from Sweden, from Almedalen, where 25,000 people gather to talk about politics, and all the parties there and the leaders are there, among them the foreign minister, Carl Bildt, and I asked him about this challenge that was just introduced to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Let's go to a clip of that.
AMY GOODMAN: Could I ask youwe're looking at the case of Julian Assange, and 59 legal and human rights groups have made a submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council challenging the pre-charge detention, which makes it a foreign policy issue. As foreign minister, what are your thoughts on this?
FOREIGN MINISTER CARL BILDT: None, because it's a question for the legal authorities and not a question for me.
AMY GOODMAN: But because it's in the U.N. Human Rights commission
FOREIGN MINISTER CARL BILDT: Well, that doesn't make
AMY GOODMAN: the Council.
FOREIGN MINISTER CARL BILDT: That doesn't make any difference whatever, because it's still a legal issue within the legal system. And as you have in the U.S., I guess, you have the separation between the executive and judicial branch. And the executivethat's sort of the nature of democracy or constitutional democracy. If you're a representative of the executive branch, you have no sayand shouldn't have any sayin what the judicial branch is doing. And that applies here, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Carl Bildt, the foreign minister of Sweden, saying this is a judicial issue, an issue of the judiciary, and he won't intervene. Your comment on that?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, I only wish that was the case. But, in fact, Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, a hawkish trans-Atlanticist who was hired by the Liberation of Iraq Committee, for cash, to provoke the invasion of Iraq here in Europe, and has done many similar thingsthis year was his 14th Bilderberger, he's an old friend of Henry Kissinger, etc. Carl Bildt has, in fact, continually, publicly interfered and denounced WikiLeaks and me, or statements that my lawyers have made, in various ways over the past four yearsnot only Carl Bildt, but the rest of the Swedish Cabinet, as well. So, it's one of these situations where when someone doesn't want to answer a question, they rely on principleswhich are good principles, of not interfering in judiciarybut on the other hand, when they want to interfere, then they do just that.
AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of the U.S. government being involved with Sweden to a level we haven't seen before? You have the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton, coming to Sweden; the attorney general, Eric Holder, coming to Sweden; President Obama coming to Sweden. That's never happened in U.S. history when it comes to Sweden.
JULIAN ASSANGE: And John Kerry, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: And John Kerry, the current secretary of state.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, yeah. The last secretary of state visit was Kissinger in 1976.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe this has to do with you?
JULIAN ASSANGE: I don't think it's just to do with me. There may be an element. For example, the Holder visit was unscheduled and was sudden and occurred at the time when there was a significant debate in Sweden about dropping the matter in relation to me. That's possibly related to me. And the Hillary visit, yes, it was just a week before I was meant to be extradited to Sweden.
But I think it more likely reflects a very strong alliance between Sweden and the United States, which has developed since the end of the Cold War, and rapidly since 2006, when the center-right party, the moderates, entered into government. And that alliance we can see, for example, in that Swedish troops are under U.S. command in Afghanistan; that Sweden was the fifth into Libya; that Sweden was the number one seller of arms to the United States during the Iraq War, in absolute terms; that the National Security Agency and Sweden have an agreement, which is even stronger than the agreement betweenthat in aspects is even stronger than the agreement between GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, and National Security Agency to conduct bulk surveillance of traffic passing through Sweden.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, if the case dissolved in Sweden, if the allegations were dropped, could you walk outside of this embassy here on British soil?
JULIAN ASSANGE: No, but that case would stop obstructing part of the asylum. So we still have the issue as to whether the British would then activate a U.S. extradition request. The British are also conducting their own counterterrorism investigation in relation to our involvement and The Guardian's involvement in Edward Snowden's documents. And there's also questions about the Snowden grand jury that we're not sure about. But the most clear aspect is the WikiLeaks grand jury in the U.S., which has been the largest investigation and pending prosecution of a publisher in U.S. history, more than a dozen different agencies involved. It's very well documented, not just by us, but by other journalists and New York Times. And, in fact, the DOJ admits it in court filings. So, that's an issue.
Now, in 2012, when the conflict was at its height, and this embassy was completely surrounded by British policeit is still surrounded by British police. There is still a siege underway with about eight to 16 uniformed and undercover police officers around the embassy at any time. But going back to 2012, there was a siege involving, at various times of the day, over a hundred police officers. At that time, the British police were ordered to smashordered to smash into a diplomatic car, if I was in a diplomatic car; if I had diplomatic immunity, to arrest me. So, that's quite extraordinary that there would be a direct instruction to violate the most tested part of international law, which is the Vienna Convention, which is the protection of embassies and diplomatic cars. It's not like there's any debate on whether it might be illegal and might be legal to do that under some circumstances. It's completely illegal. And yet the British police were ordered to do it.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you sense a shift here? I mean, you have Baroness Jenny Jones, for example, who's in charge of a police committee in the London House, saying, "Why are we spending this money?" In fact, hasn't there been a breakdown of how much money has been spent? In U.S. dollars, something like $11 million.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, it's come out under a Freedom of Information Act request just about twoabout two weeks ago, that the U.K. had reached 6.5 million pounds, or about eleven-and-a-half million dollars. It's now up to 6.7 million pounds. Interestingly, when there's a request of the breakdown, because that onlythat should be about 16 people full-time. When there's a request of the breakdown, they refuse to reveal the breakdown under national securityfor national security reasons. So the U.K. governmentthere's something that they're doing with that police surveillance that they say is a matter of national security.
AMY GOODMAN: So, let me ask you about this latest letter that was written to Attorney General Eric Holder, signed by many organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Anthony Romero of the ACLU, Reporters Without Borders, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and many others, calling on the Justice Department to officially close all criminal investigations against WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, you, Julian Assange, and to stop harassment and other persecution of WikiLeaks for publishing in the public interest. Talk about what this means and whether you think this will happen in the United States right now, whether this investigation against you, which has come up in everything from the Manning trial
AMY GOODMAN: to other places, will stop.
JULIAN ASSANGE: I think it's a sign of a developing mood in the United States, to see conservative organizations like Human Rights Watch, which, as you well know, has a lot of former State Department people in it, to come out with that position, that this prosecution, or this pending prosecution of WikiLeaks by the DOJ, National Security Division, is a dangerous precedent to set and would be a significant stain on the record of the Democrats. And so, I think there is a view that that should be stopped, and a number of different organizations are pushing for it. Now, of course, that always should have been the view. You can ask the question: Why wasn't Human Rights Watch in there two years ago saying these things? Well, I think people were scared. I think they really were scared and that they thought that perhaps they could isolate us and, "OK, let the U.S. government go after WikiLeaks, just as long as we can keep our media organizations and our human rights groups, and we can stay out of the fight."
But if you look at how the Espionage Act prosecutions have developed, there is now more investigations and prosecutions by the Obama administration of people under the Espionage Actprincipally, whistleblowers and journaliststhan all previous presidents combined, going back to 1917in fact, more than double. And people understand that it's not just us. In fact, the precedent has been set that you can perhaps do this to almost anyone. And that should be checked.
AMY GOODMAN: In this letter, they go on to quote Eric Holder, the attorney general, saying, "you promised that [quote] 'as long as I am attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.'"
AMY GOODMAN: He recently said this.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, unfortunately, you can see the conditional, which is doing his job. And we're beinginterestingly, this public statement by Holder reflects a development of thought in the State Department over the past two years that we have been following quite closely. And it is to somehow say that there are certain types of reportage which are legitimate and other types of reportage which are not legitimate. And the State Department has refused to recognize us as a media organization. And it's done that in a number of different ways, not just in its public statements by its officials over a wide variety of time, but, for example, when the Bradley Manning trial was on and Kristinn Hrafnsson, our spokespersonthe top award-winning journalist of Iceland, has won journalist of the year three timesapplied for a visa to go to the trial, to the U.S. State Department, a journalist visa, it was refused. And the grounds for refusal were not specified; they refused to specify them. But they are obviously that the State Department has a policy position that it will refuse to recognize WikiLeaks as a media organization, because then this would activate their other position that they're not going to prosecute journalists for doing their jobs.
AMY GOODMAN: Here you are, Julian Assange, in the Ecuadorean Embassy, under siege by a number of governments, under surveillance by many. And yet you manage to work with Edward Snowden, perhaps the most famous whistleblower today in the world, to help him, once he gave over his documents in Hong Kong, the former NSA contractor, to the journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, make his way to Russia, where he got political asylum. Can you explain how you did this?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, I think it'sfirst of all, will explain why WikiLeaks, as an organization, took on that case. Well, personally, I've been through a very similarI could see the experience Edward Snowden was about to go through. I have been through a similar experience. And I've also watched Chelsea Manning go through an even worse experience, now sentenced to 35 years in prison and, at one stage, kept in cages in Kuwait and so on, and treated very, very badly. So, I have personal sympathy for what he was about to go throughand not just from the legal side, but also from the press side. But as a result of us having gone through it, we developed certain understandings about diplomacy, secure communications, which had long been our specialty, and we have a good kind of diplomatic network as a result of specializing in diplomatic publications. So we thought there was a chance that we could help him, and he reached out and asked for help, and we thought it was important to assist.
The other thing is about the sort of signal it sends. The U.S. government decided to smash Chelsea Manningabsolutely smash himto send a signal to everyone: Don't you ever think about telling people what's really going on inside the U.S. military and its abuses. And they tried to smash also the next most visible person and visible organization, which was WikiLeaks, to get both endsthe source end and the publishing end. Now, we have mostly defended ourselves. I'm in a difficult position here, but WikiLeaks has never censored any of its publications in response to that attack. So we wanted to try and set a counterexample with Edward Snowden, that in fact you can blow the whistle, you can reveal this information to the public, which is of tremendous historical importance. It's of importance to the ongoing development of civilization. Are we going to end up into a mass surveillance system with a very aggressive and strong military-industrial complex, or do we have an attempt to steer away from that? But if we could erect Edward Snowden as someone who blew the whistle and survived, and not even survived, but thrived and spoke about it and kept informing people of what was going on, then we wanted to do it, because that incentivized other sources coming forward.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, how did you do it?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, you know, you have to understand I need to speak carefully, because there is an ongoing Edward Snowden grand jury, which is looking at the matters of those people who assisted Edward Snowden, as well as Edward Snowden himself. But there's a lot of surveillance of this embassy; on the other hand, we had developed certain techniques in defeating surveillance. And they're not easy. They are hard techniques, and they do take diligence. But the reality is, the National Security Agency, for all its surveillance power, and the DOJ, for all their coercive power, in the end, they are bureaucracies. They are perfectly nasty, boring bureaucracies. And bureaucracies are inefficient, and they move slowly. And we knew this from our dealing with the State Department and the Pentagon previously.
And so, we were able to move quickly and fast and assess the situation, from a legal and political perspective, in Hong Kong and the mechanisms that would be needed to get him out, get him asylum, and the flight path that would be needed so he had protection at each step of the way and that none of the intermediary countries would grab him, due to us making pre-arrangements and also due to just the sort of where they stood geopolitically. So that's what we did. And it's not like it was guaranteed to work. In fact, there were certain stages where there were quite some risks. But the risks of inaction were even greater.
AMY GOODMAN: So you not only helped him from here, but Sarah Harrison, who we just recently interviewed in Germany, who is British, but concerned, if she comes back to Britain, she, too, will be arrested, actually accompanied him on that trip from Hong Kong to Russia, stayed with him at theboth at the airport for five weeks and then for months after that.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes, that's right. Yeah, so, Sarah Harrison, one of our people, who went to Hong Kong to deal with the situation both from a legal perspective and a journalistic perspective, she was acting as a secure conduit to our lawyers, who were trying to understand the asylum situation and advise him. And from a journalistic perspective, of course, it's a very interesting story. Accompanied him to Hong Kongsorry, accompanied him out of Hong Kong to Moscow and dealt with a very difficult situation there of gaining him asylum, and, importantly, making sureonce it became clear that it would be difficult for him to go to Latin America, making sure that the situation into which he entered into asylum in Russia was a well-negotiated one, was not one of weakness. And so she stayed there for some three or four months to make sure that he had freedom in Russia and was well respected there. And to their credit, the Russian authorities did the right thing: They gave him asylum, and they didn't interfere or coerce with his conditions there.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is the most significant revelation that's come out of the Snowden-leaked documents? I mean, you who know so much from the documents that you've released.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, because it is our specialty to understand surveillance systems of various kind, and it was my profession beforehand, the broadmany of the broad parameters, we already knew about. But the confirmation of each one of those parameters was extremely important for others to realize it. I think what is most surprising is not any one thing. It's the scale, the incredible scale, and that at any point where you could guess, "Are they doing this, or are they not doing it?" they are doing it. So, for example, intercepting packages that are sent out in the post and backdooring them, backdooring chips. So we see the corporation list between National Security Agency and U.S. hardware manufacturers, so Intel, Qualcomm, that makes the chips for telephones and so on. That's quite surprising. That had been rumored and speculated on, but that the actual physical hardware is backdoored before you even get it, that, I think, isthat is a bit surprising. And then the absolute numbers, the billions of interceptions that are occurring per day. Actually, people who were studying this knew that, but to see a map of the world and the different countries with how many millions or billions of intercepts per day were coming in, I think that is probably the most consequential.
AMY GOODMAN: And the latest news that's just come out of Berlin, the arrest of a German intelligence officer for spying for the United States on the inquiry that's been opened
AMY GOODMAN: into the whole NSA scandal?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, very interesting. No surprise at all that intelligence officers are being bribed by the United States. We have had volunteers being paid by the FBI and so on, being bribed by the United States. That's no surprise at all. What is very interesting is that Germany has decided to make it public, that they have found someone and that they're going to prosecute him, not just dismiss him. That's a decision by the German government to cater to the popular will of the German population.
AMY GOODMAN: WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange. In our next segment, we ask him about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments calling for Edward Snowden to come back to the United States to face a trial. And Julian Assange describes his surroundings. He's been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over two years without any direct sunlight. He describes it as a kind of space station. He has been granted political asylum in Ecuador, but he's concerned if he steps foot outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, he'll be arrested by British authorities. We continue our conversation with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in a moment.
AMY GOODMAN: We're just back from London for our Democracy Now! exclusive, the first time a U.S. TV/radio broadcast has had a sitdown interview inside the Ecuadorean Embassy with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. We go back to that interview right now. He has been granted political asylum in Ecuador but has been living in the embassy for over two years.
AMY GOODMAN: Hillary Clinton has been doing a number of interviews on her book-slash-pre-presidential tour, and she was interviewed by The Guardian, where she talks about Edward Snowden.
HILLARY CLINTON: If he wishes to return home, knowing that he would be held accountable but also be able to present a defense, that is his decision to make. In any case that I'm aware of as a former lawyer, he has the right to mount a defense. And he certainly has the right to mount both a legal defense and a public defense, which of course can affect the legal defense. Whether he returns or not is up to him. He certainly can stay in Russia, apparently under Putin's protection, for the rest of his life, if that's what he chooses. But if he's serious about engaging in the debate, then he could take the opportunity to come back and have that debate. But that's his decision. I'm not making a judgment one way or the other.
AMY GOODMAN: Those are the words of Hillary Clinton, that Edward Snowden should come home and, as the current secretary of state says, "man up" and face a trial.
JULIAN ASSANGE: He has no possibility to conduct a meaningful defense in the United States. That's just a sad reflection of how the federal court system has evolved in relation to national security cases. They will make sure, A, that the case is in Alexandria, Virginia. In fact, they already have. That's where his grand jury is. It's where the WikiLeaks grand jury is. It is the highest density of military intelligence contractors and government employees in all of the United States. That's why it's there, so they always get what they want.
The state secrets privilege is used in these espionage cases, where the government tries to work out a way to present evidence that it doesn't allow to the defense under the basis that it's classified. So, even at the sort of procedural level, he will not be able to conduct a meaningful defense.
Then, in relation to his obligations under law for classified access, it's a strict liability. So he can't conduct any whistleblower defense that it was in the public interest, etc. It's strict liability.
And then we only need toand you go, "Well, how does that all play out in practice?" Well, actually, we've seen the case of Bradley Manning: 35 years for speaking to the press, no allegation that there was any money involved, no allegation that he was dealing with any opponents of the United States government, and 35 years in prison. So, those are the actual conditions that people go through in cases like this.
AMY GOODMAN: In fact, when Hillary Clinton talks about his public defense, that he could mount one, when it came to Chelsea Manning, then Bradley Manning, when Manning was being tried, we could not even hear Manning's voice, except that, you know, a tape of his voice
JULIAN ASSANGE: As a result of a leak. That's right. That's right.
AMY GOODMAN: was smuggled out of the courtroom, so we were able to play a very muffled tape. So how would Edward Snowden defend himself?
JULIAN ASSANGE: And in the Chelsea Manning case, it was even worse than that. We filed to get hisCenter for Constitutional Rights, a number of cases, even to get any transcript out of that hearing. So, you'll see a similar thing in the Snowden case, a lockdown under the basis that secrets are being discussed. And then the conditions that Snowden would be kept in in the United States would be SAMs, so special administrative measures, because it's what they do in these national security cases. They say that there's something in his head that's valuableit's not just documentsand that by speaking, he could reveal this information. And so he'd basically be kept in incommunicado detention during the bail process, and the court case, I imagine, could go for five to seven years, even if in the end political constellations came together and he won in the Supreme Court.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, presumably, Julian Assange, this applies to you, as well. What do you think would happen if you're extradited to the United States?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, just that. It's not even what I think. WikiLeaks and I have a team of excellent lawyersthere's about 30 of them nowthat have been understanding the situation for several years. They include Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights and others in the United States. And their advice is that, yes, there's a high chance that you would be subject to SAMs, special administrative measures, during the whole time that the court case went on. You obviously wouldn't get bail as a foreigner. And yeah, so, the punishment is in the process. And the DOJ understands that. And if you look at other cases, like Thomas Drake, for example, former National Security Agency whistleblower, given 13 counts of espionage, and then, in the end, he beat it and beat them down to one count of mishandling classified information. So you see this attempt to punish people by drawing them into a long and extended, drawn-out process, and, OK, in the end maybe you'll win it, but you don't get all those years back again. And, you know, that I have responsibilities to the organization I'm running, to my family, and I've been advised to not go to the United States. And I think that's good advice.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, where we are here, in the Ecuadorean embassy, you have described it as a kind of space station. Can you describe it for us, how you live here 24 hours a day?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, it's a space station in the sense that I'm sealed from the outside world and natural light, and therefore have to create my own cycle of light, like you also do in space. But, you know, it's
AMY GOODMAN: So you have a light machine.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes. But being in aand timers and so on. But being in an embassy is actually, in some ways, not in others, a national security reporter's dream, because there's no subpoenas to an embassy. You can't subpoena. The British police can't come in. The Ecuadorean police can't come in. No police can come in. There can be no raids in the night or during the day. And that's quite a comforting position for the publisher of WikiLeaks to work from. It's not a position I would like to keep forever, obviously, but it does at least allow me to continue workingyes, with a lot of constraints about can my family safely visit, can sources safely visit, can our most sensitive staff safely visit the embassy. There's a lot of surveillance of the embassy. Some of that has been publicly declared. There's a lot of other surveillance of the embassy that we are aware of, in different forms, surrounding what faces onto the embassy in different ways, which I don't want to go into what we know and what we don't know, for obvious reasons.
AMY GOODMAN: We're right across from Harrods, the famous department store.
JULIAN ASSANGE: There is, under the Freedom ofunder, actually, the Data Protection Act, we filed a act against Harrods and got information out showing how Harrods were in fact assisting the police surveillance operation.
JULIAN ASSANGE: By permitting the police to use various buildings and facilities that Harrods has, not just the formal building, but they have a number of buildings which face onto the embassy. Additionally, it might be something of interest that Harrods was bought out by the Qatar sovereign fund a while ago, so it is ultimately Qatar that is supporting the surveillance operation of this embassy through its collaboration with the British government.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the outside security here? We just look beyond the curtains, and we see police vans.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Around the embassy, there are a number of uniformed police and plainclothes police operating and others. The publicly admitted expenditure is now 6.7 million pounds, $11.5 million. It's about $15,000 per day. And so, there has been some analysis of that and what that means. There's about eight visible people around the embassy. But the salaries cover 16 people, so there's a number of others also involved in the processing and management of the information. That doesn't include what MI5 is doing and what GCHQ is doing.
AMY GOODMAN: And you foundthe embassy here found a bug in the ambassador's office?
JULIAN ASSANGE: That's right. The embassy security found, at the time of the visit ofshortly before the visit of Ricardo Patiño, the Ecuadorean foreign minister, in terms of the securitygetting ready for the security of the minister's visit, yes, they found a bug planted, a GSM bug planted in a hidden socket in the ambassador's room.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you expect there are many others?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, some parts of the embassy. Fortunately, the embassy has a 24-hour security guardmewho never leaves the building and is always watching or alarmed in one way or another. So not all places, but, yes, others.
AMY GOODMAN: What gives you hope? And what do you see as the greatest legacy of WikiLeaks?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, hopefully the greatest legacy is still to come. But WikiLeaks started in 2007, but it was really this very public confrontation that we had in 2010, 2011, which people saw watching. So it was nota new generation saw history unfolding in real time, before their eyes, a history that they were part of. Young people see the Internet as their place, where they exchange ideas and culture and so on. And previously, they had been politically apathetic, because they didn't feel that they could be a part of the power process. But seeing Hillary Clinton's personal cables and equivalents for many different countries, and the fight that we were in, and being part of that in some way, by spreading this information or talking about it with others, educated a new generation. And the Internet went from being a politically apathetic space to being a political space. And that then spread into many different things. And so, I think this is actually the most significant thing that we have done.
We have also, in terms of the publishing industry, widened the envelope of what is acceptable to publish and so on. That's been quite important and set off a cascade of examples, whichgoing through allegedly Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and Jeremy Hammond and many others, to come forward and reveal abuses in government.
AMY GOODMAN: Is there another Edward Snowden in the pipeline?
JULIAN ASSANGE: I'm sureI'm sure there will be. In fact, I'm sure there already is.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
A telling story of the violability of the law by governments. They use the law when it suits, and abuse it when it suits. Heads they win, tails you lose.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
David Guyatt Wrote:A telling story of the violability of the law by governments. They use the law when it suits, and abuse it when it suits. Heads they win, tails you lose.

Yeah, a rigged 'legal' (sic) system. Amazing that at times the Embassy was surrounded by over 100 police and intelligence officers and that they are using neighboring buildings to spy on what is done and said in the Embassy. Some of that must include bombarding the Embassy with radiation to get reflections back from electronics [computers etc.] to know what they are doing - and windows and walls to pick up conversations. No doubt they have also tunneled under it and installed listening devices to pipes, electrical wires, phones and anything else. The UK has no official 'beef' with Assange, but is obviously willing to do all kinds of nasty favors for the US (and Sweden - who is acting as US proxy to get Assange). Shameful what the Western 'democracies' [sic] are willing to do in the name of anti-democratic and illegal actions.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
UK always the craven lapdog of the US. Poodle.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Assange just gave a press conference in which he stated he would soon by leaving the Embassy. However, he refused to say when, or more importantly how......stay tuned.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
He also said he has developed potentially life threatening heart and lung problems. As for how long 'soon' is well how long is a piece of string. Likely to be a change of government coming in the UK and Sweden. That might change things...on the other hand....maybe not. We'd all like him to come home but the government, all of them, doesn't care too much for some of our citizens and would be quite okay with him being dealt with by the US.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Magda Hassan Wrote:He also said he has developed potentially life threatening heart and lung problems. As for how long 'soon' is well how long is a piece of string. Likely to be a change of government coming in the UK and Sweden. That might change things...on the other hand....maybe not. We'd all like him to come home but the government, all of them, doesn't care too much for some of our citizens and would be quite okay with him being dealt with by the US.

If the USA 'deals' with him, he'll never see the light of day again in his life....maybe not even the one hour per day in international law! I'm only guessing that his lawyers will go to the British Court and ask a compassionate stay on the arrest order for him to get to a hospital or leave the country - but I'm sure this will be denied. I see him as trapped, unless he has something up his sleeve..... Sad that Oz don't give two shits what happens to him....but then the USA abandons many of its citizens, as well....
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
This was posted by Wikileaks this morning and may explain Julian's cryptic comments yesterday:
Quote: Extradition Act Changes

Extradition Act Changes
July 18[SUP]th[/SUP] 2014 saw major changes to the Extradition Act, affecting both European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) and Part 2 Warrants, for other countries throughout the world. Whilst the changes do not address some of the long-standing concerns that many people have regarding the Extradition procedure, particularly with regards to Extradition to the USA, the impact of the changes will be felt by many. Further changes, especially to the Extradition Appeals process, are expected to come into force later this year (2014).
So what has changed?
There are three main areas, which are considered in more detail below;
  • a new Bar to Extradition if the prosecution in the requesting country have not reached a decision to charge;
  • the introduction of a proportionality test;
  • and the ability for either a requested person or the Judicial Authority to request a temporary transfer of a requested person.
There are other, more minor changes, such as the repeal of hostage-taking considerations' as a Bar to extradition and the long overdue change to the position concerning asylum seekers.
Previously an application for asylum submitted after the issue of an EAW would stop a person being extradited until it was decided. Now, extradition cannot take place until any asylum application has been determined, no matter when it was issued.
No decision to charge
Under the terms of the Extradition Act, a person can be extradited either on the basis of a conviction warrant, where they have already been convicted of an offence in the requesting state and are wanted to serve a sentence, OR on the basis of an accusation warrant, where the proceedings have not yet concluded, for example because the person failed to attend their trial.
The amendment to the Extradition Act introduced on 18[SUP]th[/SUP] July means that if it appears to the Judge dealing with the case that the authorities in the requesting country have not yet made a decision to charge someone, and those representing the authorities (ie the CPS Extradition Unit) cannot prove that a decision to charge has been made, then the extradition is barred.
However, this amendment does not apply if the person's absence from the requesting country is the sole reason for the failure to make that decision.
It is difficult to know how this new section will be interpreted. It is likely to need expert evidence from each individual country, and for the courts to become familiar with the course of legal proceedings throughout the world.
For example, in any given country, the Court will need to consider whether or not the law allows proceedings to be instigated in the absence of a defendant.
In this country, proceedings can be instigated by the laying of an information and the issuing of a summons. If a country's legal system operates in a similar way, that country may struggle to argue that the absence of the person is the sole reason for proceedings not being instigated.
Where the requested person has not yet been convicted, the Judge must now consider whether or not extradition would be proportionate. This is an extension of the Human Rights Act protection that already exists, but now sets out the specific matters that the Judge must take into account;
1) The seriousness of the conduct alleged
2) The likely penalty if found guilty
3) The possibility of less coercive measures being taken than extradition
There is an obligation upon the designated authority (ie the National Crime Agency) not to certify an EAW if they think it is disproportionate.
Again, it is difficult to know how these provisions will be interpreted, and it is likely to be some time before a sufficient body of case law is built up to enable anyone to predict the outcome of an individual argument with any degree of certainty.
Temporary transfer
The third major change introduces the concept of a temporary transfer, allowing either the requested person or the requesting authority to ask for the temporary transfer of the requested person to the requesting territory. If both parties agree, then that is what will happen.
Quite how many people will voluntarily agree to a transfer remains to be seen; an educated guess would be not very many, if in fact any at all.
The second limb of this new provision may find more favour. It allows for arrangements to be made for the person to speak to the representatives of the requesting country and for the extradition proceeding to be put on hold while this is done. This is likely to be popular with countries such as Poland where the authorities can often be persuaded to withdraw an EAW if certain conditions can be met.
As with all matters relating to the Extradition Act, it will be some time before the full effects of the changes are understood. It is likely to take a number of appeals before there is some sort of guidance forthcoming. In the meantime, extradition lawyers in London and elsewhere will be watching very closely.
JFH Law's Extradition department is available to advise and assist anybody facing extradition proceedings. Please contact either Philip Newman or John Howey on 020 7428 6311 or email
News Categories

News Archive

Contact us

Enquire here 020 7428 6311
07939 958767 (24hr)

@jfhlaw @BellaMagnani Changes don't apply to cases where an #extradition decision has already been made so don't appear to affect #Assange about 13 hours ago
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
And then there is this:


Julian Assange: do recent changes to extradition law make any difference?

by Carl Gardner on August 18, 2014

In a word no.
In a press conference this morning, Julian Assange told reporters a Wikleaks spokesman could confirm that
I am leaving the embassy soon
and the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, according to the Guardian
referred to recent changes to the extradition laws in the UK which he believed would mean Mr Assange would not be facing extradition if the case started today.
Notice he did not claim these changes make any actual difference now; merely that they would have made a difference had the case started today. It started (and ended) some time ago, so they make no difference at all.
The changes he's referring to are the new sections 12A and 21A of the Extradition Act 2003, inserted by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, amendments which took effect a few weeks ago, on 21 July.
The new section 12A brings in a new bar to extradition under a European Arrest Warrant if the requesting country has not made a decision to charge, and the CPS (which in this case represents the "category 1 territory", Sweden) cannot satisfy the extradition judge that
the person's absence from the category 1 territory is the sole reason for that failure.
This might or might not help someone in Assange's situation. Arguably his absence from Sweden is indeed the "sole reason" why he's not been charged; it's even more strongly arguable that his absence is the sole reason why no decision has been made whether to charge him or not. But there would certainly be room for Assange's lawyers to argue, based on points his supporters have made in public about the possibility of interviewing him by video, that his absence from Sweden isn't the "sole reason" he's not been charged.
The case isn't being argued today, though. Section 156(3) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act provides that
In a case where the Part 1 warrant (within the meaning of the Extradition Act 2003) has been issued before the time when the amendments made by this section come into force, those amendments apply to the extradition concerned only if, at that time, the judge has not yet decided all of the questions in section 11(1) of that Act.
The warrant was issued in 2010, of course; and the extradition judge decided all those questions in 2011. So the new provisions just don't apply in Julian Assange's case.
The new section 21A brings in another new bar to extradition where the judge thinks it would be disproportionate bearing in mind the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the likely penalty, and the possibility of "less coercive measures" by the requesting state. In a case of alleged rape (and the UK courts do see this as a case of alleged rape: see paragraphs 104127 of the High Court's 2011 judgment) it's hard to argue that extradition would be disproportionate bearing in mind these considerations.
But in any event, section 157(5) makes exactly the same transitional provisions about the new "disproportionality" rule as apply to the new "no charge" rule. Where the arrest warrant was issued before the new rule came into force, it applies only if the case is still before the extradition judge.
Neither of the new rules applies, then. Julian Assange's extradition case ended in 2012, with the Supreme Court's ruling that he should be extradited to Sweden. The amendments don't apply to his case retrospectively.
If this saga (or its extended UK sub-plot) is finally approaching its end, then it can only end with a flight to Sweden. In spite of what Assange seemed to say today, he may still see his departure as somehow conditional on a deal with the UK (which, as I've written before, seems to me hopeless). But assuming he does leave the embassy in the coming days or weeks, he'll surely be arrested, then extradited in accordance with the courts' rulings.
His surrender might conceivably be postponed briefly in accordance with article 23.4 of the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision, if travelling would cause a serious risk to his health; and I dare say he'll attempt some sort of last-ditch application for bail or an injunction in the short period before he's extradited. But his position's legally hopeless.
The only question is whether he really does leave the embassy soon, or not.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Key Griggs Entire Interview Lauren Johnson 0 1,573 02-05-2023, 05:55 PM
Last Post: Lauren Johnson
  Assange, Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalism and the BEAST that wants them dead Peter Lemkin 1 1,395 04-02-2023, 12:39 AM
Last Post: Fred Steeves
  Spooks Among Us - A very interesting website, especially for those in UK Peter Lemkin 0 1,979 20-07-2022, 01:58 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  The Assange Trial - more than meets the eye & ear Peter Lemkin 7 6,481 11-12-2021, 10:40 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Christopher Simpson Interview on his book Blowback Peter Lemkin 5 12,743 17-01-2018, 05:07 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Mysterious Assange Tweet Lauren Johnson 0 4,331 15-01-2018, 04:16 AM
Last Post: Lauren Johnson
  Ralph Nader - A Plague On Both Major Parties - An Interview Peter Lemkin 0 5,309 02-07-2017, 05:56 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Some Interesting Details on MI5-'terrorist' Connections and Watching Of Them Peter Lemkin 1 5,416 12-06-2017, 06:28 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Attack near, and perhaps on Parliament grounds, London Peter Lemkin 6 6,286 23-03-2017, 12:13 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  12/15/2016 Interview With Assange Lauren Johnson 2 4,880 17-12-2016, 04:41 PM
Last Post: Dawn Meredith

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)