Published on Countercurrent, by Natalia Viana, 09 December, 2010.
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, gave an exclusive interview to Brazilian journalist Natalia Viana of the online publication Opera Mundi on Monday … //
… 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. (full text).