VIDEO: WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Warns Other Journalists About the Serious Precedent Being Set if Julian Assange is Extradited
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has sent a dire warning to other journalists about the precedent that will be set if Julian Assange is extradited to the United States.
Ecuador is currently attempting to justify expelling the award-winning publisher from their London embassy, where he has had asylum for nearly seven years.
Speaking to Ruptly, Hrafnsson said that if Assange is extradited to the United States, “it would set up an extremely serious precedent for every journalist anywhere in the world.”
“Who is going to stop other governments from demanding extradition from other countries? Will they hand over a British journalist to the United States to face trial for his work on this basis? People should consider that and especially journalists, how serious implications this could have on the profession.”
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) April 10, 2019
Earlier in the day, Hrafnsson had held a press conference announcing that Spanish police are now investigating an espionage operation against Assange, made possible by the Ecuadorian government. A group of men had obtained surveillance footage and photos from inside the embassy and were attempting to extort $3 million from the publisher.
The massive trove of material included legal notes and footage of Assange meeting with his doctor. They threatened to sell the material to the media if WikiLeaks did not pay up.
Ecuador caught in espionage operation against its refugee Julian Assange which:
1. Spied on his legal, medical visits
2. Stole legal notes during the middle of a court hearing against them
3. Secretly cooperated with US
4. Tried to extort him for 3M Eurohttps://t.co/l9KvnWrjK4
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 10, 2019
The theft of the materials would not have been possible if the Ecuadorian government was not aiding the spying and persecution of their citizen and refugee.
Earlier this week, the Gateway Pundit exclusively obtained a court transcript of an appeal made by WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in an Ecuadorian court, in which he accused their government of preparing to revoke his political asylum at the behest of the United States and United Kingdom.
In the transcript, Assange highlighted the level of interference and security risks he has faced throughout his seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed asylum. Assange spoke of signal jammers placed in the embassy to prevent him making phone calls, as well as repeated attempts by unknown persons to break through his windows at night. He said that someone had even attempted to breach the window in the early hours before this very testimony.
“I am an assassination risk. It is not a joke. It is a serious business,” Assange said.
Assange also asserted that the Ecuadorian Government is “positioning itself in order to violate the asylum.” He accused them of “deliberately leaking out to the press selective scandalous material” and gagging him so he cannot rebut the allegations.
Assange has been barred from expressing any political opinions or discussing what Ecuador is doing to him in the embassy since March 2018.
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno publicly said that Assange is gagged from writing “political opinion” including about US and Spanish policies. This obviously destroyed his ability to work as a journalist and publisher. He told AP: “if Mr. Assange promises to stop emitting opinions on the politics of friendly nations like Spain or the United States then we have no problem with him going online.” He and the foreign minister have publicly repeated the statement many times, even going as far as to say that Assange cannot talk about his treatment in the embassy.
Last December the New York Times revealed the country’s president tried to sell Assange to the US for debt relief. Ecuador received $4.2 billion in a US backed IMF bailout on February 4. The US seeks Assange’s extradition over WikiLeaks’ 2010 publications on war and diplomacy. His alleged source, Chelsea Manning, was re-jailed last month to coerce her into a secret interrogation against him.
On March 25, this journalist visited Assange in the embassy and was locked in a room as an argument ensued between the publisher and Ecuador’s Ambassador Jaime Alberto Marchán. The ambassador was refusing to allow Assange to meet with me without going through a full body search. He was also requiring us to stay in the heavily surveilled conference room so that we could not have a private conversation. The same conference room where much of the material being used to extort him was filmed.
“I am trying to have a private conversation with a journalist. I am also a journalist — and you’re stopping me from doing my work. How can I safely relay my mistreatment and the illegality going on here to this journalist while under surveillance?” I heard Assange ask the ambassador.
“You have been illegally surveilling me,” Assange sternly insisted. “You are acting as an agent of the United States government and preventing me from speaking with a US journalist about these violations.”
He pointed out that the ambassador has put his own privacy at risk with his efforts to assist their spying on him. (For many years, there had been a white noise machine in the conference room, to protect the ambassador and other officials during sensitive conversations — it has now been removed).
“You have been working with the US government against me, it’s disgraceful! You are an agent of the US government, and there will be consequences for your illegal acts,” Assange continued.
You can read more about the Stasi-style surveillance at the embassy in my article about our visit in January. Additional up-to-date background information about what is currently going on with WikiLeaks and Assange can be found here and here.