WikiLeaks, Assange, Snowden and all of us are winning - Hrafnsson
Hello! This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Mr. Kristinn Hrafnsson he is the official spokesperson and the number two at the WikiLeaks organization.
Robles: Hello Sir! It is a pleasure to be speaking with you.
Hrafnsson: It is my pleasure as well.
Robles: I understand that you are in Ecuador right now. I’d like to get your views and your comments on the fact that Julian Assange has now spent more than a year in that embassy in London, and if you see any hope that that situation may change soon?
Hrafnsson: Yes, I’m always optimistic that the situation will change. Of course it is quite outrageous that he has had to spend a year and a day now in the Ecuadorian Embassy without there being a solution to the situation.
There has of course been some dialogue going on. The Foreign Minister of Ecuador did meet with his counterpart in London. So, one will hope that there is a solution very soon, but this could of course drag on for some time. But this has of course, to come to an end fairly soon. It is just ridiculous to continue this standoff.
Robles: There’ve been some media reports, I don’t know how credible they are, stating that Julian is resigned to being extradited. Would you grant those any credibility? I hope not.
Hrafnsson: No, I haven’t even seen these reports. But there are so many false reports flying about with regards to his situation and with regards to WikiLeaks and my colleagues in the media, many of them seem to enjoy all kinds of fabrications when it comes to the organization and to Julian.
Robles: That’s why I wanted to speak to you. Listen, are there any concrete positive moves going on right now as far as with the Ecuadorians and with William Hague? Can you tell us anything about that?
Hrafnsson: I believe that there was some progress made. But it remains to be seen how all that can materialize into a solution to the situation.
Robles: You know all of the stories right now going on about the NSA whistleblower Snowden. Do you see any correlations, any connections there?
Hrafnsson: The Snowden case has a strong connection to WikiLeaks and the revelations that we were publishing three years ago now and ongoing.
We have seen a continuous trend of leaks and whistleblowers stepping forth. And now of course Snowden is informing of the overreaching surveillance and spying of the NSA, which is a matter not just for the Americans but for the entire world. And more and more information is coming out on that. This is something that has been maintained of course by the WikiLeaks and by Julian for years. And it is confirming what other whistleblowers that have stepped forth earlier from the NSA and from the CIA.
I can mention that John Kiriakou, Bill Binnie, and Thomas Drake who all were telling a similar story about the activities of the NSA and had to suffer badly because of that, they were even threatened with being charged and prosecuted on the basis of Espionage Act in the U.S. which carries the maximum of the death penalty.
This is, in my mind, a signal that thing are going forward and we are going to see more information and we are going to see more people stepping forth and blowing the whistle. And we are going to be seeing people who will leak information about the corrupt practices of governments.
Robles:Kristinn, do you think all our efforts and everybody’s efforts, Snowden, Julian, yours, I mean thousands of good people with high moral standards, do you think we have a chance of fighting this monster? It just seems like over and over again we have the same thing happening and their crimes are getting worse and worse.
Hrafnsson: I think we have more than just a chance of succeeding. I absolutely think we are winning. That is a feeling that I have and is confirmed by the reaction that I’ve seen to the revelations of Snowden, and other recent example of government surveillance and even snooping into journalists’ matters, accessing their telephone logs, as happened with the 20 journalist at the Associated Press. With an attempt to make even a Fox journalist Rosen a co-conspirator in a leak.
This is basically an attack now going on on the media, and it is now being recognized by journalists more and more who have been a little bit asleep to this terrible reality, that this is an attack on journalists and this is an attack on the free press. This is now being reported as such and the general public of course will get the information about the seriousness and grave situation. And in my mind, no question about it, that people will not allow this to continue and they will stop this. So, I believe we are seeing a tidal change and this is a winning situation.
I think that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were part of a trend in the right direction and the explosive leaks that have come out form our organization have been of course a wakeup call to people. There is a tremendous support we feel in all of the work of WikiLeaks and what we are doing.
There have even been surveys done I believe in 24 or 25 countries as afr back as in the early year 2011, at the same time that we were basically being branded as terrorists by the U.S. Administration and there were calls for assassination of Julian Assange and others who work in WikiLeaks, and there was an overwhelming support in all these countries and the majorities supported what we were doing.
Countries where there was a minority of the population supporting what WikiLeaks was doing and that was the United States, but even so 40% of the respondents, were saying that they appreciated what WikiLeaks was doing. So, I believe that that is an indication of the simple fact that the general public do want more transparency.
Robles: Can I get your reaction and maybe can you tell us Julian’s reaction, if you know, to the absolute massive capability of this PRISM program? What was Julian’s reaction? And what is your reaction to the enormity of the NSA’s capabilities?
Hrafnsson: Well, it does not came as a surprise to Julian Assange nor does it come as a surprise to anybody in WikiLeaks because this is what we have been saying for quite some time. And in the book that has come out by Julian, The Cypherpunks this is basically what we have been maintaining. This is the capability this is what has been done, as it has been, for some time and it has also been confirmed by other whistleblowers who have stepped forth from the NSA as far back as 2003.
That was the end of part one of an interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson the official spokesperson for the WikiLeaks.