Julian Assange on Patriot Act, TPP, Media Freedom, and EU as a Military Force
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses:
- Patriot Act - despite congressional standoff, NSA has secret authority to continue spying unabated
- Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – even though it will have effect on 40 percent of the global economy, even congressmen do not have unrestricted access to the documents
- Trident whistleblower - William McNeilly to be prosecuted in order to supress debate on the dangerous state of UK nuclear submarines
- UK press – working hand in hand with the military and the intelligence to purposefully omit reporting on certain issues
- EU plans to stop Libyan refugees – a way to test EU as a military force
Not directly connected to Russia the article raises the issue of the TPP treaty which will have profound global consequences, since it affects 40 percent of the global economy.
Plans for EU to act as a military force are relevant to the current West-Russia crisis and future outcomes. Global US surveillance affects all.
We are passionate about exposing the one-sided reporting of the mainstream media and omission of facts. Assange gives a clear example of how media is doing this in the UK.
Citations are from an interview of Julian Assange by Amy Goodman at Democracy Now!
Yet Assange says that the surveillance will continue unabated:
"Our sources say that the NSA is not too concerned, that it has secret interpretations of other authorities that give it much the same power that it would have had under the secret interpretation of 215 and other areas of the USA PATRIOT Act."
When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Assange says that it has to do little with trade. It's about control by the multinational corporations:
"That is erecting and embedding new, ultramodern neoliberal structure in U.S. law and in the laws of the other countries that are participating, and is putting it in a treaty form. By putting it in a treaty form - with 14 countries involved - means it’s very hard to overturn.
"If there’s a democratic desire, in the United States to go down a different path - for example, to introduce more public transport - then you can’t easily change the TPP treaty, because you have to go back and get agreement of the other nations involved.
"What if the government or a state government decides it wants to build a hospital somewhere, and there’s a private hospital nearby? Well, the TPP gives the constructor of the private hospital the right to sue the government over the loss in expected future profits. This is expected future profits. This is not an actual loss that has been sustained, where there’s desire to be compensated; this is a claim about the future. And we know from similar instruments where governments can be sued over free trade treaties that is used to construct a chilling effect on environmental and health regulation law."
In regards to the security lapses revealed by British submariner William McNeilly, Assange believes that this will be pushed under the carpet. The Trident whistleblower revealed, with the help of WikiLeaks, the disastrous state of UK submarines based in Scotland. He recorded important documents and managed to access restricted areas without even an ID check. He has since handed himself in to the British authorities.
According to Assange:
"They’re not going to prosecute him under the Official Secrets Act; they’re going to go for him under AWOL [absent without official leave].
"I imagine if they’re trying to suppress debate about this matter, they will prosecute him for being away without leave, they will perhaps put him in prison for 28 days, and they’ll give him a dishonorable discharge, as a way to kind of dampen the conflict.
"If it comes to court about the material that he’s been released, well, they’ll have to say, "Yeah, it’s true. This is true. And it was unlawful for him to release this true information." And he will say, "Well, but there was a public interest in this." And then they’ll say, "Well, you don’t have a right to argue public interest," and so on.
"At the moment, it appears that the U.K. government is heading down this direction of trying to not have a big, high-profile court case, which would probably be held in Scotland and further inflame the Scottish independence movement."
Julian Assange: It’s very interesting to see the way it’s playing out in the U.K. press, it seems like an initial ban on reporting any of the information.
Amy Goodman: Has a deal been made between journalists or is there a kind of actual official ban?
Julian Assange: The U.K. society is an often informal society. In London, things work behind the scenes, and—but there is a formal mechanism, as well, which is the D-Notice advisory system, where the military and intelligence agencies once a month meet with the editors of the U.K., and they say what things are not to be reported, and then there’s a gentlemen’s agreement that these things are not reported. The media self-regulates, because there’s a fear of regulation if they don’t do what they’re told.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview was the discussion of the documents released by WikiLeaks on EU stance on refugee problem in the Mediterranean. Possible EU military intervention to stop the flow of refugees - from the country they destroyed - may be a way to test EU as a military force.
"A secret plan was constructed by the defense ministers from various countries in Europe. The plan was led by the U.K. and Italy. Authored on the 13th of May, is what we have released. It calls for a military intervention in Libya to destroy refugee boats before they leave port, from Libya coming to Europe, and also for other attacks on the people who provide the services of conducting the boats, called in that plan, 'people smugglers.'
"This will be the first time that the EU, as a military force — not NATO, but the EU — is engaged in hostilities. It’s quite significant from the perspective of what the EU is going to look like as a military force. If you think of Libya, there’s the question of what do these EU nations want with Libya."
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