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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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A grand jury, which was removed from U.K. jurisprudence because of abuses, combines the executive and the judiciary. So this old common lore notion of the separation of these branches of power is removed in a grand jury. U.S. government argues that these captive nineteen to twenty-three individuals are the branch of the judiciary, if they perform a judicial function, where of course, actually, they’re just captive patsies for the Department of Justice, United States and the FBI. So they have been going out and they have coercive powers. They can force people to testify, and they have been pulling in all sorts of people that are connected to WikiLeaks and people that are not. They have recently a number of individuals that have been pulled to the grand jury understand what is going on and they have refused to testify and have pleaded the First Amendment, Third Amendment‚ Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination to‚ well I’m not sure the purpose, I don’t have direct communication, but from the outside it appears to nullify that political witch hunt in the United States against us.

Now, in response, the grand jury has been instructed to send out immunity certificates. So these are certificates that go to subpoenaed individuals that say that if you come to the grand jury to testify, your testimony cannot be used against you and therefore you have no right to plead the Fifth. What this means in practice is coerced, compulsive interrogation in secret with no defense council. There’s not‚ not even lawyers for, for the subpoenaed witnesses are permitted into the grand jury. It is just the prosecutors and these people from six kilometers away from the center of Washington. That’s something that should be opposed. There is another grand jury that has sprung up here in the United States and is investigating anti-war activists, engaged in the same sort of witch-hunt. So these are a really a classical device that was looked at very critically in the UK four hundred years ago, and the result in the UK’s concept of, the, if justice is to be done, it must be done publicly. And, that is being a concept that is way late. It’s interesting why or how it has been way late. So on the surface this device of, well you want the police to have an investigation, an executive says it wants to conduct and investigation into some group of people. Well, we get people from the community, nineteen to twenty-three people from the community, and they monitor the investigation. They make sure it’s not overstepping and so on. But actually this has been turned on its head and used as a way to completely subvert the judicial system in the United States.

 

AMY GOODMAN: I don’t want to look distracted looking down, but I want to get these quotes accurate so I have them on my phone. Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House in the United States, said: “Julian Assange is engaged in warfare . . . Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed is terrorism. And Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism . . . He should be treated as an enemy combatant and WikiLeaks should be closed down permanently and decisively."

Bill Keller of the New York Times said "arrogant, thin-skinned, conspiratorial". Judith Miller who often wrote or co-wrote articles that appeared on the front page of New York Times alleging weapons of mass destruction without named sources said, “Julian Assange isn’t a good journalist . . . didn’t care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out or determine whether or not it would hurt anyone."

 
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