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In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Glen Greenwald says: "Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet ... their funds have been frozen ... media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization."

Video image Glenn Greenwald appearing on Democracy Now!, 12/07/10. (video image: Democracy Now!)
Video image Glenn Greenwald appearing on Democracy Now!, 12/07/10. (video image: Democracy Now!)



Glenn Greenwald: "War on WikiLeaks"

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

07 December 10



Petition in Support of Julian Assange

Also See:
WikiLeaks' Twitter Page: http://twitter.com/wikileaks
WikiLeaks' Support Page: http://wikileaks.ch/support.html
Lieberman Attacks New York Times Over WikiLeaks Documents: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/07/wikileaks-joe-lieberman-new-york-times-investigated


ikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London on an international warrant to face sex crime allegations in Sweden. Assange is expected to face a hasty extradition process to Sweden. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, constitutional attorney and blogger at Salon.com. Greenwald says: "Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet ... their funds have been frozen ... media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose - which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world's most powerful factions."

Guest: Glenn Greenwald, constitutional law attorney and political/legal blogger at Salon.com.

Amy Goodman: We're broadcasting from Cancún, Mexico, at the U.N. Climate Change Conference. In a moment, we'll turn to the talks here in Cancún, but first our top story. Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks website, was arrested in London earlier today on an international warrant to face sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Assange is appearing in court today after surrendering to British police. The case reportedly centers on accusations from two women who say Assange refused to use a condom during consensual sex. Assange and WikiLeaks have denounced the case as a political witch-hunt that's intensified with the group's release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is carrying out a separate criminal probe focused on WikiLeaks's decision to release secret U.S. documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghan and U.S. diplomatic cables. U.S. Defense Secretary Gates said earlier today Assange's arrest, quote, "sounds like good news to me."

The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has said it will keep operating as normal despite the arrest of its founder, Julian Assange, in Britain. A spokesperson said, quote, "WikiLeaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as laid out before. Any development with regards to Julian Assange will not change the plans we have with regards to the releases today and in the coming days." WikiLeaks has released less than one percent of the more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables in its possession.

For more on the arrest of Julian Assange, I'm joined by Democracy Now! video stream by Glenn Greenwald, constitutional attorney and blogger at Salon.com.

Glenn, if you could just respond to this latest news on the arrest of Julian Assange in Britain.

Glenn Greenwald: Well, what's interesting is it's being depicted in the media as some kind of an international manhunt that finally concluded. That's what Matt Lauer announced this morning on NBC News, the international manhunt is over. The reality is that although this case has been around for quite some time, there was really only a valid arrest warrant for the first time in England, the country where he's been located, as of yesterday, and last night his attorneys negotiated his turning himself in with the police department in London. So it was entirely voluntary. There was never any manhunt of any kind, nor has he been actually charged with a crime. The arrest warrant has been issued by the Swedish authorities in order to question him about the accusations that have been made. There's no judgment that he's guilty or that there should be a prosecution at all. They're simply seeking to interrogate him.

And one of the most - the strangest and most interesting aspects of all of this is that it's extremely unusual for Interpol, the international police agency used in Europe and other places, to be used in this manner. I mean, he was put on the, quote, "most wanted" list, even though, as I just said, he's not charged with any crime. They're simply seeking to interrogate him. And for months now, his attorneys have offered to the Swedish police and to prosecutors to make him available for questioning, whether it be by telephone or by Skype or by appearing in some other technologically suitable means, and yet they've been extremely insistent, very oddly so, that that isn't good enough, that he actually make himself physically available in the jurisdiction of Sweden in order to be detained and interrogated.

And, of course, the real concern is - and it's the concern that Assange and his lawyers have - is that what this really is is just a ploy to get him into custody in a country, which is Sweden, that is very subservient to the United States, that is willing to extradite him to the United States or turn him over with the slightest request. And any person who has followed the United States, quote-unquote, "justice system" over the last decade knows that there's good reason to fear that, that anybody who's accused of national security crimes, especially if they're not an American citizen, is treated in violation of virtually every Western norm of justice, without almost any due process.

So I think the responsible thing to do for any person is to wait and see with regard to the allegations themselves that these women have made, whether there's evidence to support it. We should all wait and see one way or the other, and hopefully the case will play itself out. But there's lots of reasons, in terms of how it's been treated by Swedish authorities, to find it very questionable indeed whether what's really going on is a politically motivated effort to get him out of WikiLeaks, stop what he's doing in terms of exposing and bringing transparency to governments around the world, and ultimately hand him over to the United States.

Amy Goodman: Julian Assange has appeared on Democracy Now! several times this year. On October 26th, he detailed some of the international pressure facing WikiLeaks.

Julain Assange: Oh, there's no doubt that this organization is under siege. There was a direct demand made by the Pentagon that we destroy all previous publications, all upcoming publications - an incredible demand for prior restraint on a media organization by a military - and that we cease dealing with U.S. military whistleblowers.

My Swedish residency application was denied for reasons that still remain secret.

One week after the release of the Afghan war diaries, our donation credit card processing company Moneybookers, the second biggest on the internet after Paypal, terminated our accounts, and we were forwarded an email by the security department explaining the situation to the account manager, which was that we were on a U.S. watchlist and an Australian government blacklist and to see the current controversy in relation to Afghanistan. Fortunately, we have just now managed to get up an Icelandic-based credit card processing scheme, so donors can once again donate there.

The Australian attorney general stated that he would assist any country anywhere in the world to prosecute us over these disclosures and that, when asked the question, had he provided intelligence assistance, something that we have evidence of, said, "Well, yes, we help countries from time to time, but I won't comment directly on that matter."

And we know the Icelandic government has been publicly pressured to not be a safe haven for our publishing activities or for me personally.

The Swedish government has been pressured at the intelligence agency level to its body SAPO. When I left Sweden on the 27th of September, my - to a flight to Berlin on SAS, one of the world's most - if not the world's most reputable airline - my luggage disappeared. That was the - I was the only case in that plane.

Amy Goodman: That was Julian Assange speaking on Democracy Now! just a few weeks ago.

By the way, a correction to an earlier headline, a Swiss bank has frozen Julian Assange's account, not a Swedish bank.

Also, the newspaper called The Australian is preparing to run an op-ed by Julian Assange that was written before his arrest. The newspaper reports, quote, "Mr Assange begins by saying: 'in 1958, a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's the News, wrote: 'In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.' It goes on to say a few more things about freedom of speech; the 'dark days' of corrupt government in Queensland (where Assange was raised); and it says much about his upbringing in a country town, 'where people spoke their minds bluntly'. It says that Australian politicians are chanting a 'provably false chorus' with the US State Department of 'You'll risk lives! You'll endanger troops!' by releasing information, and 'then they say there is nothing of importance in what Wikileaks publishes. It can't be both.'" Those are a few of the quotes that will appear in Julian Assange's op-ed piece. The Australian newspaper is releasing it at midnight Australian time. Final comments, Glenn Greenwald?

Glenn Greenwald: Well, I just want to underscore how alarming everything is that you just described, both in that report and in your earlier one, which is, whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they've never been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. And yet, look at what has happened to them. They've been essentially removed from the internet, not just through a denial of service attacks that are very sophisticated, but through political pressure applied to numerous countries. Their funds have been frozen, including funds donated by people around the world for his - for Julian Assange's defense fund and for WikiLeaks's defense fund. They've had their access to all kinds of accounts cut off. Leading politicians and media figures have called for their assassination, their murder, to be labeled a terrorist organization. What's really going on here is a war over control of the internet and whether or not the internet can actually serve what a lot of people hoped its ultimate purpose was, which was to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world's most powerful factions. That's what this really is about. It's why you see Western government, totally lawlessly, waging what can only be described as a war on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange outside the bounds of any constraints, because that's what really is at stake here. If they want to prosecute them, they should go to court and do it through legal means. But this extralegal persecution ought to be very alarming to every citizen in every one of these countries, because it essentially is pure authoritarianism and is designed to prevent the internet from being used as its ultimate promise, which is providing a check on unconstrained political power.

Amy Goodman: Glenn Greenwald, I want to thank you very much for being with us, constitutional lawyer and blogger at Salon.com. He's speaking to us from Brazil. We're in Cancún covering the U.N. climate change talks. And we're going to go to that after break. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. You can go to our website at [democracynow.org] to see all our interviews with Julian Assange, as well as with Daniel Ellsberg, perhaps the premier whistleblower in the United States.

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+35 # Romesh Bhattacharji 2010-12-07 23:27
This is a hard hitting interview. Its people like Glen and Amy who make America the land of the free and the brave, even though its two faced forked tongue Government brazenly attacks free speech and freedom within and without its land. Its laughable that the American Government has the insolence to condemn China for stifling free speech. Pot calling the kettle black. This US instigated manhandling of Julian has shocked many in India (where I am from) and has made God's Own Country the butt of innumerable jokes. God bless you all. You need it as your leaders are guided by the devil only.
 
 
+4 # mojitobaby 2010-12-08 01:33
How odd it is that when people are upright and do the right thing, they're praised for their good character - no one immediately credits God for having guided them! The same should apply in reverse - IOW, don't blame the devil for what evils our leaders do. That's a simplistic (and dangerous) excuse, because placing all the blame on some supernatural agency really absolves them of all responsibility. Bullsh!t to that. Like all men and women, they have free will. If they choose to be venal, or hypocrites, or serve themselves rather than the people who elected them, it's their choice. So, too, is choosing this way of covering up their actions.

I actually shudder to think what would happen to Daniel Ellsberg if Vietnam were happening today and he tried to leak the Pentagon Papers online - for all that technology is supposed to make information more accessible than ever, the NY TIMES never had to deal with this type of coercion in 1971.
 
 
+3 # Ben Makinen 2010-12-08 10:59
[quote name="mojitobab y"]

"I actually shudder to think what would happen to Daniel Ellsberg if Vietnam were happening today and he tried to leak the Pentagon Papers online ..."


Re:Pentagon Papers. President Nixon did use his executive authority to keep the NY Times from publishing anything on the P. Papers. For 15 days the Times was kept from publishing via restraining order that was later overturned by the Supreme Court (New York Times Co. v. United States). Ellsberg claims that he was informed (by gov prosecutor Bill Merrill) of a plot to have him poisoned with LSD so as to appear incoherent at a public speaking engagement. IOW the goals are the same today as then even if the tech. has changed: Incapacitate the Challenger.
 
 
+1 # lestrad 2010-12-10 05:17
For that matter, imagine the Supreme Court overturning the order today...
 
 
+5 # Lariokie 2010-12-08 04:07
Romesh you have this country figured out much better than the majority of American lame brains. Obama is the biggest disappointment I have seen in my 42 years of political activism. He is a change, but not for the better. I had hoped there would be no need for a WikiLeaks in an Obama administration, but he is as secretive if not more so than Bush. He will never get another vote from me, that is certain.
 
 
+6 # genierae 2010-12-08 08:28
Romesh Bhattacharji: Thank you for your blessing, we are going to need all the help we can get. My government has been taken hostage by an Oligarchy who use the President and Congress as a front, while using the military and the CIA to plunder the world. It will take all the courage we can muster to rise up and challenge these international criminals.
 
 
+12 # David Cliff 2010-12-08 00:15
"Honesty is the best policy" an old saying which is true. For years we've been into wars, which should have never had in the first place. Our Leaders, our politicians have betrayed us in a similar ways that the father's of legions have done in the past so the people weren't allowed to find the truth.

The Nations of this world need Julian Assanges so we can all have the honour of knowing what truth is, AND WHAT ARE LIES.
 
 
+7 # giraffe 2010-12-08 02:38
Wiki leaks is the best thing that has happened to the USA "people" in decades. Thank you all and Wiki leaks "may" save democracy but what is falling out of Congress shows they are not "for the people" --- and it's beyond our own corrupt banks -- we're owned by "who knows" -- Wiki leaks said they would release the stuff on banks in January - sure hope that comes out because then the crooks in our government may have to put their tails between their legs and hide (or are we past any recovery??????? ???)
 
 
+2 # genierae 2010-12-08 08:09
giraffe: It is puzzling to me why WikiLeaks spoke in advance about the release in January concerning the banks? It seems to me that letting banks know ahead of time would only cause trouble for WikiLeaks, and serve no useful purpose. The attack on Assange by the US is an outrage. Its obvious that our government has been taken over by anti-American forces, and I don't think that it matters who our president is, they are the ones in charge. It may be that our public presidency has become just a figure-head, a visible whipping-post with no real power. This would explain the success of Republicans who care nothing about the common good, yet continue to prevail against Democrats who do.
 
 
+1 # Fobsub 2010-12-08 16:35
Quoting giraffe:
Wiki leaks is the best thing that has happened to the USA "people" in decades. Thank you all and Wiki leaks "may" save democracy but what is falling out of Congress shows they are not "for the people" --- and it's beyond our own corrupt banks -- we're owned by "who knows" -- Wiki leaks said they would release the stuff on banks in January - sure hope that comes out because then the crooks in our government may have to put their tails between their legs and hide (or are we past any recovery??????????)


I'm generally optomistic but in this, yes I do believe its too late. Sadly, it now looks like this country will fail completely as the nation it was designed to be within my lifetime and the most painful part is that its people will ignorantly applaud its destruction. This has been accomplished by powerful, well known political organizations fraudulently acting on behalf of the people and this nation but are actually nothing more than self gratifying "terrorist" organizations. With the results of the last Nov election they now hold all the cards; nothing can stop them.
 
 
+7 # John McAlpin 2010-12-08 05:25
Those who dare challenge the Elite must be struck down.
That Empire based in the Land of the Blind and the Home of the Slave cannot stand criticism: some might start to think. Disallowed!!
 
 
+2 # Randy 2010-12-08 07:36
Since September 11, 2001, supporters of the military have liked to remind us of their importance by chanting "Freedom isn't Free." I have long taught the history of the Civil Rights movement using that same slogan "Freedom isn't free." Now we see what it really means that "Freedom isn't Free.
Peace,
Randy Gabrielse
 
 
+1 # Fobsub 2010-12-08 16:59
Freedom is not a definable word, its meaning is open ended. Take a survey, you'll hear quite a variety of answers. I'm partial to the meaning alluded to by the original constitution, which is no longer in use today.
 
 
+6 # joe little 2010-12-08 07:39
I personally found it odd that in spite of the fact that Assange turned himself in he was refused a bond as a flight risk.
 
 
+1 # Glen 2010-12-08 11:32
Wikileaks has made announcements of coming events a few other times, but, like you, I have wondered why now. The pressure on them has been such that you might imagine a bit of reticence until time to drop the big one.
 
 
+2 # BobboMax 2010-12-08 17:58
There are a LOT of things that are odd aabout the whole rape charge thing- the convenient timing, the "unusual" nature of the charges, the fact that officials insisted he appear physically when a virtual meeting might have clarified matters, the apparent fact that Interpol issued a "red alert" on someone who hasn't even been charged with a crime- Very strange. I don't want to diss the women involved, because we just don't know the whole story, but I have to say I'm very skeptical.
 
 
+3 # Bruce Gruber 2010-12-08 08:56
So, let's see ... who owns and controls the Internet? Justice(sic)? Whose ox is gored by Wikileaks' exposures? Are they even identifiable - as individuals? Or does the whole bogus system of 'good ole boys' merely lean in upon itself amorally, as it bankrupts each one of us slaves to the "system"?
 
 
+2 # Glen 2010-12-08 11:30
Glenn Greenwald, along with Jeremy Scahill, is one learned individual that can be trusted to report either from personal experience, the law, major research, or the constitution, or all of the above. Their objectivity and intelligence lends itself to a method of reporting that citizens may depend on. Were it not for Scahill, for instance, most of us would have little knowledge and only suspicions of what Blackwater/Xe has been up to, or that there are other organizations of similar ilk. Greenwald has proven himself time and again to report facts.
 
 
-8 # TAMMY 2010-12-08 11:33
AS I SEE IT: WE HAVE 1. STOLEN- DOCUMENTS... 2. TROUBLE MAKERS, CALLING IT FREEDOM OF SPEECH, AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN AMERICANS! 3.A NATION THAT NOW, HAS
REAL SAFETY AND SECURITY ISSUES TO DEAL WITH! 4. THIS IS NOT A 911 BOMB, BUT THE
DEVESTATION IS AS GREAT!!!
 
 
0 # B. 2010-12-08 23:40
Quoting TAMMY:
AS I SEE IT: WE HAVE 1. STOLEN- DOCUMENTS... 2. TROUBLE MAKERS, CALLING IT FREEDOM OF SPEECH, AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN AMERICANS! 3.A NATION THAT NOW, HAS
REAL SAFETY AND SECURITY ISSUES TO DEAL WITH! 4. THIS IS NOT A 911 BOMB, BUT THE
DEVESTATION IS AS GREAT!!!

You might want to take alot harder look at it. Nothing in you're post is correct.
 
 
+5 # DaveW. 2010-12-08 11:57
We need to all remember something, its not just a "war on WikiLeaks." It's a war on all of us who believe in the concept of truth vs. power. Tyrants, Dictators, and yes, Presidents, and the empires they preside over have used "secrecy" as perhaps the most vital tool in their arsenal of mass deception. This is really an us vs. them moment. How it plays out may determine freedom or tyranny, death or life. This "leak" has obviously created a "puddle" the boots of the power brokers are desperate to avoid. Why they do will tell us a lot about where we've been and, more importantly, where we're going. The lid is off. Time to dump the whole bucket.
 
 
+1 # wanaku 2010-12-08 12:58
Quick question:
Apart from copying and pasting (leaking) to readers, what has WikiLeaks actually produced as new content?
Anything?
Can one make a living by just copying what others have compiled and leaking this to others?
On the other hand, if citizens really wanted to find out this info for themselves, was it impossible to do? This just seems like an opportunistic attempt to make hay without lifting a pitchfork.
My 2 dimes
~w
 
 
0 # hydroweb 2010-12-08 13:08
If the Internet could be shut down, governments would do it. The cats are out of the bag. Too late!

The great cyber wars have started. Stay tuned...
 
 
+5 # BobboMax 2010-12-08 14:40
This is a bit off-topic, but still, a good forum. I'd like to let PayPal and Amazon (and Visa?) know that they've potentially lost my respect for their alleged actions in this whole matter. They appear to have caved to either mobocracy or very inappropriate US government pressure when no charges have been filed and it's not clear a crime has been committed. (I'm only referring to WikiLeaks, not the sexual misconduct charges against Assange.) The decisions to withdraw commercial services from WikiLeaks implies an assumption of guilt on the flimsiest of evidence, something any one of us is vulnerable to in this age of hysteria. I'd like to hear a response from any of these businesses.
 
 
0 # lestrad 2010-12-10 05:25
I've cancelled my PayPal and Amazon subscriptions. Vote with your feet.
 
 
+1 # bill mathew 2010-12-08 18:16
If WikiLeaks had been operating ten years ago, the illegal and immoral wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which were based on lies and greed of some of the US leaders, would not have started. The lives of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians would have been spared. WikiLeaks may well be vital in preventing future wars of this type.
 
 
+1 # Tim 2010-12-08 20:05
Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

John F Kennedy.
 
 
0 # Rebelle 2010-12-09 12:22
bush allowed the children of people they only thought "might" have info to be kidnapped and tortured in front of their parents to get them to talk.What parent wouldn't tell them anything they wanted to hear to stop the torture of any child,much less their own child. Then these children were held endlessly any way.Reports of children as young as 6 that were being charged and held as terrorist. There were reports of mere babies being tortured, and since Iraq had absolutely NOTHING,do with 9-11 none of these parents or children had anything to do with any of it,their misfortune was living in a country with the second largest Oil supply in the world,and bush and chenny's greed to steal it from them.There were reports of female children 7 to 8 years old being raped and tortured under bush.Reporters were captured and jailed to control the info from getting out,innocent civilians were kidnapped off the streets held indefinitely and tortured and we allowed bush's administration to continue these practices unchecked while bankrupting America.Are they afraid foe fraudcasting fans will hear about it?
 

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