Julian Assange fears “death or being incommunicado” in the US

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A Julian Assange interview with RTS and the Swiss Press, February 2015 – Transcript

RTS: Julian Assange good morning, we are in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, that you can not go out of since July 2012, we’ve interviewed you 5 years ago. You’ve changed.

JA: It’s been quite a lot of change in five years, putting it mildly. For WikiLeaks the organization, extremely interesting period […] a lot to be proud of. We’ve managed to survive a quite serious battle with the United States, over our publications, and for me personally […] I’ve been detained now for almost five years in the United Kingdom without charge, and that’s been difficult period for me and my family. On the other hand, my work continues and WikiLeaks as an organization continues.

 

RTS: The situation here is somewhat surreal. The windows are blind, we are in the center of London, you are taken in this apartment, the big store, Harold’s, is next door, in this time of consumption you’re [stuck]here, how does one survive this, mentally, for 3 years?

JA: It’s quite a surreal situation. There is various types of Lamborghinies, that occasionally go past with this new rich Arab class that lives in this part of London, even there are Felt, black felt Lamborghinies, gold Lamborghinies etc. But more, the biggest issue for us, is the surveillance of this embassy. The UK admits to spending more than £10 million now just on the police surveillance.

 

RTE: The situation here is very fragile, if you fall ill, if you have appendicitis etc. they’d take you to the hospital, they’d arrest you… Then what?

JA: Let’s not think about that, but even getting doctors in is quite a difficult thing, and dentists, because they say their insurance does not cover Ecuador, if they are British doctors.

 

RTS: Is it possible to have an arrangement with the UK authorities or the US authorities? Will, some day, a deal be possible?

JA: I think an arrangement with United States, if Hilary gets in, is quite unlikely. Hilary was Secretary of State during our big conflict and I think the US will probably try to keep things going forever. That’s said we can, you know, increase the political cost for continuing on the investigation, but it’s in their nature to look like they never lose, similarly, here in the UK it’s going to require some kind of technical mechanism to avoid… saving face.

 

RTS: If Hilary Clinton is elected, would that change things for you? For you personally? For WikiLeaks in general?

JA: I Think there’d be change for everyone in a way that won’t be positive, having dealt with Hilary extensively. She is, you know, quite a hawkish, even a very hawkish figure, but, she is from the Democratic Party, so, she would eliminate the opposition that you would normally see in a Democratic party to a Republican figure as president, and so, that means there would be very little restraints in relation to the American adventurism that we’ve seen even in the last eight years under Obama.

 

RTS: You’re away from the ones you love, certainly you’ve had deaths in the family while you’ve been here. Do you suffer/regret?

JA: It is something that is difficult for me. It is something that is much more difficult for my children and family members. In some ways, one must, if you believe in something, and you want to see it occur, you have to pay a price, just like if you want to buy a house, you have to pay a price, similarly, in political philosophy you must pay prices if you believe in something.

 

RTS: Julian Assange, if you stepped out, the police would arrest you, you’d certainly be extradited to the US, would you be given the death penalty?

JA: We live in a modern system. It is possible depending on the shifts in the US politics that I would be sentenced to death, probably not, but that does not mean there is a risk of a sort of living death. In the United States there is something called SAMS [Special Administrative Measures] and for National Security cases, they put people in SAMS restrictions which is, you are incommunicado detention. So even if you communicate something to the public through your lawyer the lawyer goes to prison and this has happened in the United States.

 

RTS: Did you ever think to escape?

JA: Of course one dreams about these kinds of things…you can make bets, like there is a betting agency… you can make bets whether I am going to leave in a helicopter or a tunnel or a car but actually we were joking about this, we should make some kind of investment fund cause if we can know how I will leave then we can rig the bet.

 

RTS: Thank you Mr. Assange.

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