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Julian Assange on Why Calls for His Death and the McCarthyesque Crackdown on WikiLeaks Are Good Signs

Assange and renowned philosopher Slavoj Zizek discuss the release of the largest trove of classified U.S. government records in history.

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So, the elite in each country in the EU, has, if you like, made literally a treaty with each other, to recognize each other and to not complain about the behavior. Now you might say that, well okay, we have justice systems in the EU and various countries. Some are better some are worse depending on your values system, but we have sunk so low that it’s not even like that anymore. The European Arrest Warrant talks about the mutual recognition of judicial authority—so courts. But it has permitted each country to define what they call a judicial authority, and Sweden has chosen to call policeman and prosecutors judicial authorities. And the whole basis of this term being used in the original introduction of the European Arrest Warrant was that you would keep the executive separated from the judicial system, that it was meant to be a natural and neutral party who would request extradition and it’s not.

So there are many things like this that are going on in that case. I haven’t been charged. Is it right to extradite to a state where they do not speak the language? Where they do not have family, they do not know the lawyers, they do not know the legal system. If you don’t even have enough evidence to charge them, you won’t even come over as we have offered many times to speak to the people concerned. So previous complaints about these sort of problems have lead to some inquires in Sweden. For instance, the biggest Swedish law magazine that goes out to all the lawyers had a survey on this and one third of the lawyers responding said that yes, these complaints about the Swedish judiciary system, they truly are a problem. On the other hand, it has entered a situation where the Swedish Prime Minister and the Swedish Justice Minister have personally attacked me. Um, and said, the Swedish Prime Minister said that I had been charged to the Swedish public, when I hadn’t been.

So it is a delicate situation, Sweden, the Sweden we have now is not the Sweden of Olof Palme in the 1970s. Sweden recently sent troops, recently passed a bill to send marines in Libya. It was the fifth country out to send fighter jets into Libya. This is a different dynamic, we have to be careful at dealing with it. It’s one thing to sort of be considerate of differences in the way various justice systems are administered, but it’s another to tolerate any difference. And I don’t think any difference should be tolerated in the EU.

You know, what it is that prevents the justice systems of EU states from fundamentally collapsing and decaying? You say there is mutual recognition. There’s mutual recognition between the UK and Romania, and what if the Romanian justice system collapses more and more and more? Who’s going to account for that? Who’s going to scrutinize it? Is it going to be some bureaucrats in the EC that are going to scrutinize the Romanian justice system? No. The only sustainable approach to scrutinizing the justice systems of the EU is the extradition process.

So it is extradition lawyers and defendants who have the highest motivation to scrutinize the quality of justice in the state that they are being extradited to. And that’s a healthy system that permits outside scrutiny—and so it can stop European states from decaying. But the European Arrest Warrant system removes that possibility; it’s not open to us to look at any of the facts in the case in the extradition at all, that is completely removed. All we’re arguing about is whether the two page request that was filled out, which literally has a box ticked rape, is a valid document.

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