Glenn Greenwald: Every Journalist In The World Should Speak Out Against Arrest Of Julian Assange

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Journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on "Democracy Now!" on Thursday to react to the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"It’s the criminalization of journalism by the Trump Justice Department and the gravest threat to press freedom, by far, under the Trump presidency," Greenwald said. "Every journalist in the world should be raising their voice as loudly as possible to protest and denounce this."





AMY GOODMAN, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Glenn, your response to the arrest of Julian Assange, his being dragged out of the Ecuadorean Embassy by British police today?

GLENN GREENWALD: I think the most important fact is that the arrest warrant, according to Assange’s longtime lawyer Jennifer Robinson, is based on allegations that Assange conspired or collaborated with Chelsea Manning with regard to the 2010 leaks of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and diplomatic cables — a theory that the Obama Justice Department tried for a long time to pursue, but found no evidence for, in order to be able to justify prosecuting Assange and not face the accusation that they were endangering press freedoms by prosecuting Assange for something The New York Times and The Guardian and every other media outlet in the world routinely does, which is publish classified information.

Even if it were true that Assange collaborated with Manning — and, again, the Justice Department of President Obama looked everywhere and found no evidence of that — it would still be a grave threat to press freedoms, because journalists all the time work with their sources in order to obtain classified information so that they can report on it. It’s the criminalization of journalism by the Trump Justice Department and the gravest threat to press freedom, by far, under the Trump presidency, infinitely worse than having Donald Trump tweet mean things about various reporters at CNN or NBC. And every journalist in the world should be raising their voice as loudly as possible to protest and denounce this.

AMY GOODMAN: And can you explain, Glenn, exactly what you understand, why it is that the Ecuadorean Embassy has revoked the asylum, allowing the British authorities to come inside, what’s going on with President Moreno and his charges that Julian Assange was involved in releasing photos, which Assange has vehemently denied?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I interviewed former President Rafael Correa late last year. And he, of course, did something quite extraordinary, which was for six years stood up for Ecuadorean sovereignty and for international law and refused to be bullied by the U.S. and the U.K., which tried everything it could to coerce him or threaten him to withdraw the asylum protection for Assange. He was a very unusual leader of a small country, who famously said, for example, “If the U.S. wants to have military bases in Ecuador, they have to allow us to have military bases in Miami.” He was against imperialism and allowing Ecuador to be a vassal state of the U.S. and the U.K.

And his successor, President Moreno, is exactly the opposite. So, the Trump administration, the CIA, the U.K. and Spain — which is really angry about WikiLeaks’s denunciations of their abuses of protesters during the Catalonian debate — have spent the last year and a half doing everything they can, threatening Ecuador, offering rewards to Ecuador, doing everything they could to coerce Ecuador, under President Moreno, to do something that President Correa refused to do, which is violate international law, withdraw Julian Assange’s asylum. And, of course, he needed to concoct an excuse to do it, so he doesn’t look like what he is, which is a very weak and submissive leader, to his population, so they made up a bunch of excuses. But the reality is, they did it because the U.S. and the U.K. demanded that they do it.

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