The Accusations Are False: Julian Assange
By Natalia Viana
09 December, 2010
Opera Mundi/ translated by Narco News
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, gave an exclusive interview to Brazilian journalist Natalia Viana of the online publication Opera Mundi on Monday. (Viana, 2004 graduate of Narco News’ School of Authentic Journalism, now is co-chair, with Bill Conroy, of its investigative journalism program.) Assange didn’t hide his irritation at the freezing of his Swiss bank account (on the pretext of his having registered it at a local address while he does not reside in a European country) and with other actions taken against his organization since it published embarrassing documents from US Embassies.
Assange was preparing to turn himself in to British police, who arrested him in London this morning. Assange is accused of sexual crimes in Sweden. The accusation isn’t very clear and includes charges of having unprotected sex with two women while he was in Stockholm giving a speech. On November 18 Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant with the objective of interrogating him for "reasonable suspicion of rape, sexual and coercive aggression." The WikiLeaks founder faces a hearing in the Westminster court in the central region of London, where it will be decided if he will be extradited to Sweden.
Natalia Viana: What is the accusation against you and how do you feel about your imminent arrest?
Julian Assange: There are many accusations. The most serious is that I and our people have committed espionage against the United States. This is false. There is also a so-called "rape" investigation from Sweden. This is false and will go away once the facts come out, but is being used to attack our reputation in the meantime.
Viana: Regarding the accusation of espionage, have there been any legal charges filed?
Assange: It is a formal investigation involving the heads of the FBI, CIA, and the US Attorney General and so on. Australia is also conducting a similar "whole of government" investigation and assisting the United States. One of the alleged sources, Bradley Manning (US soldier accused of being WikiLeaks’ source), sits in solitary confinement in a prison cell in Virginia. He faces 52 years if convicted on all charges.
Viana: What is the difference between what WikiLeaks does and espionage?
Assange: WikiLeaks receives material from whistleblowers (persons who denounce wrongdoing in the organizations in which they work) and journalists and makes it public. Espionage would require us to actively take material and give it deliberately to a foreign power.
Viana: In the Sweden case, what do the women allege?
Assange: They say that I had consensual sex. The case was dropped within 12 hours when the chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, read the interviews. Then it was picked back up again after political involvements. The whole thing is very disturbing. They just froze my Swiss bank account, my defense fund.
Viana: On what basis?
Assange: They do claim I was putting them in danger. But there is nothing to suggest that. And, in any case, it’s false.
Viana: What is your opinion about the freezing of your money transfers by the business PayPal, and that Amazon removed your site? How do you see those acts?
Assange: It is fascinating to see the tentacles of the corrupt American elite. In some ways, seeing the reaction is as important as the material we have released. PayPal and Amazon froze our accounts for political reasons. With PayPal, 70,000 euros were frozen. With our defense fund, that was 31,000 euros.
Viana: What do they allege?
Assange: They say that we were conducting "illegal activities," and that clearly is untrue. More, they are echoing the accusations of (US Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton about publishing embarrassing US government documents. However, the head of the Senate Committee for Homeland Security bragged to the press about how he had called Amazon and demanded they shut us down.
Viana: What is WikiLeaks doing to defend itself from the freezing of its donations?
Assange: We have lost 100,000 euros this week alone as a result of the freezing of our assets. We have accounts in other banks – in Iceland and Germany, for example, that the public can still use. We have a website. We also accept credit card donations.
Viana: What more is WikiLeaks doing to defend itself?
Assange: We are counting on a diversity of support from good people. We have more than 350 websites in the world that are reproducing our content. We value that more than anything.