RT Interview in Stockholm on WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Democracy
"I would believe instead that the disclosures made by WikiLeaks aim to reveal the secrets that actually belong to the people -- that have elected those authorities which are abusing power by not telling the truth. And with that WikiLeaks is doing a huge favour to democracy. In my opinion WikiLeaks actually is sending a lifeboat to democracy. And democratic societies would instead be thankful for that effort. And not punish WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange for he is providing those secrets behind abuses of power."
On Trial by Media
RT - If we look at the media, you have written yourself that there might be, as you put it, a trial by media, and the media have painted Julian Assange in rather harsh terms. Could you get into more detail, about what do you think they have done?
I have seen most articles written– in the period in which I was studying this phenomena - negative towards Assange, and not only negative in connection with the allegations; but also negative ad-hominem, describing his personality in unjustified terms and in offensive terms.
What kind of terms?
He has been described like a paranoid person, like not having respect for his co-workers, like driven by personal own ambition; and such things. And that without any ground whatsoever. I mean, there are characterizations ad hominem without giving any particular base or ground for those accusations.
Protracting Swedish process to give time for U.S process
Is it not fair to say that if there are seriously questions that need to be answered surely is correct that Julian Assange should stand trial?
In the U.S., the preparations for these trials are seeking a connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning in terms of making Julian Assange accountable; is that what they are apparently looking after. And for that they need time. They need to prepare these materials. And for that, of course, it is highly convenient to keep Assange under arrest – and under the threat of the prospective of bring him here to Sweden, where he later he might be subject to an extradition petition.
In the light of that, what pressure if any do you thing the US might be putting on Sweden, and why?
Tom, the U.S. does not need to put any pressure on Sweden. Sweden is complying with U.S. and NATO without any pressure at all. The Defence Minister, Tolgfors, he has openly said, “we love America”. And they really do, which is totally OK. But they are putting in jeopardy the interests of the Swedish nation; by taking Sweden for instance to a war, which is not Sweden’s war -- it is NATO’s war; by abandoning the Neutrality policy which was cherished not only by the Swedish nationals, but also by vast contingents of the people in the world. And that is the role that Sweden still could play in the international arena; and that is the thing that many of us would like to have re-established.
On that the risk of the extradition of Julian Assange from Sweden, if so petitioned by the U.S., is actual and very high
[Here it was a passage in the interview - not aired - where I disregarded arguments form Swedish scholars and officials putting the extradition of Assange as an “open question”, which will be proceed “according to the law”, to agreements with the UK, etc. All those verbal exercises that drastically contrast with what the praxis of Sweden is, when it is a matter of complying with U.S. wishes in those regards. I recalled the facts that that since year 2000 to present, in all the cases (100 per cent) in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory, the extradition to the U.S. has been granted by Sweden. I also said that ultimately the extradition decision – regardless the juridical paraphernalia - is taken at a political level. /Professors blogg Note].
If Julian Assange would be extradited to Sweden, he will be in Swedish territory to the highest degree: he will be incommunicado in a cell in a Swedish territory. And many of us are concern as whether that is the ultimate reason why this process, this “legal process”, has been put forward: to obtain this possibility, of having Assange in Swedish territory from where he would be extradited elsewhere.
Meaning for Democracy of WikiLeaks disclosures
If we talk about WikiLeaks itself, and the documents. Some one would say that the vast majority of documents revealed by WikiLeaks are harmless, nearly embarrassing. But there are others, many people would say that for example Sarah Palling’s private emails should never have been leaked . . .How dangerous do you think leaking masses of documents like these could be.
I would believe instead that the disclosures made by WikiLeaks aim to reveal the secrets that actually belong to the people -- that have elected those authorities which are abusing power by not telling the truth. And with that WikiLeaks is doing a huge favour to democracy. In my opinion WikiLeaks actually is sending a lifeboat to democracy. And democratic societies would instead be thankful for that effort. And not punish WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange for he is providing those secrets behind abuses of power.
And these abuses of power are contained for instance in all that secrecy around the true motivations for important historical decisions which some countries have implemented. For instance going to war by saying “we are going to war because of those weapons of mass destruction” – I mean, reasons that do not meet with the facts and things like that. Enormous tragedies have to be suffering by lots of people. What WL is doing is disclosing, exposing that kind of secrets.
On Julian Assange ad-hominem
Moving on, lastly, to the man himself, Julian Assange. A former computer hacker; many people says he is a bid of a puzzle, as a man. It’s a lot of discussion that he seems very unmoved by all the revelations he has revealed. Some people has gone further and said that his white hair, his look, his manners, well, some people have said they make him seem a bid strange. How do you think that all of this discussion could affect his chances of, in his eyes and in the eyes of the world, getting justice?
You are referring to a rather common technique used in terms psychological war. He is obviously being subjected to all this ad-hominem and untruthful descriptions. I would personally disagree with all those things. I have met Julian Assange only once, but during a time frame enough for me to have a completely different assessment that the one you are referring to. I would say that he is one of the most normal persons among of the most normal leaders or journalists or politicians I have met in my life. There is no sign of that paranoia thing that over and over again some journalists both in England and in Sweden are repeating. He is a liberationist and he will be in the memory, he will remain in the memory of the people on the side of a good cause; on the side of a human-rights cause, and on the side of getting the world better by rescuing democracy from the hands of the power-abusers.
Professor Ferrada de Noli, thank you very much.