By Richard Phillips:
“The attacks on us are extraordinarily revealing”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks with WSWS
16 March 2012
Julian Assange spoke with the World Socialist Web Site this week about the US-led attacks on WikiLeaks, freedom of the press and other basic democratic rights, and the impending British Supreme Court ruling on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on bogus sexual assault allegations.
The WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief has not been charged with a single crime in Sweden, Britain or any other country. Nevertheless, Assange has been held under house arrest for over 450 days, forced to wear an electronic ankle tag, observe a 10 p.m. curfew and report to police on a daily basis.
Richard Phillips: Can you comment on the latest details of the United States grand jury indictment and what happens if you’re extradited to Sweden?
Julian Assange: The new evidence that emerged from the Stratfor files—emails from a Texas-based private intelligence agency—show that the US government has obtained a secret grand jury indictment against me. The US ambassador to the United Kingdom, Louis Susman, stated in February 2011 that the US government would wait and see what happened with the current Swedish extradition case as to whether it would pursue extradition itself.
The US ambassador to Australia [Jeffrey L. Bleich], one week prior to Obama’s recent visit, also told the Australian media that the Australian government might have to consider its extradition obligations in relation to me, presumably in case I returned to Australia. And while WikiLeaks has many of its people under legal attack, the organisation itself is also under an extra-judicial financial blockade. There are some 40 people who have been swept up in operations by the FBI, Scotland Yard or other police forces.
Regarding the pending Supreme Court decisions in Great Britain over the Swedish extradition case, if we are unsuccessful then I’m expecting to be extradited to Sweden within 10 days and then possibly re-extradited to the United States. Even if we are successful in the Supreme Court, the situation will be similar because the United States is likely to unseal its espionage charges through the grand jury and apply directly for my extradition from Great Britain.
Of course, none of these things will happen if it’s not possible to do so politically. When a legal case reaches a sufficiently high public profile for the government, then it becomes a matter of politics.
RP: Do you have any detailed information on direct collusion between Britain, the US and Sweden over your extradition?
JA: What we can say publicly is that on December 8, 2010, the Independent newspaper published a report about informal contacts that were already occurring at that stage between the US and Sweden in relation to my extradition.
John Pilger: The dirty war on WikiLeaks: here.
Shedding Light on the Secret Pre-Trial of Bradley Manning. Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “The government has so far refused to provide key pieces of evidence against him to his defense team, a process known as discovery. Several pre-trial meetings between prosecutors and Manning’s defense were also held behind closed doors and out of public light. Court orders and motions are currently held secret despite complaints lodged by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Assange. CCR attorney Shane Kadidal told Truthout that he was surprised by the lack of media presence at the hearings”: here.
Military judge rejects motions to reduce charges against Bradley Manning: here.
Peter Van Buren—a veteran US diplomat whose blog and 2011 book, We Meant Well, detail his futile experiences as a nation builder in Iraq—was formally fired from the State Department this week: here.