For years, America’s oligarch class has grown fat by betraying the country they rule over. They’ve outsourced the country’s wealth and well-being to China. They’ve embroiled the country in one disastrous war after another — wars that did nothing to make America safer but did a great deal to enrich the defense contractors who supplied them. They’ve colluded with Big Tech and Big Finance to gradually chip away at the basic rights that Americans once took for granted.
To the badly misnamed, oligarch-captured “intelligence community,” the imprisoned Wikileaks Editor and free speech activist Julian Assange remains Public Enemy Number One.
As head of Wikileaks, Assange published leaked documents from former Army soldier Chelsea Manning (born Bradley Manning). Manning has already gone free, but Assange has been a hunted man ever since. For seven years, Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid an unjust extradition on trumped-up charges.
In 2016, Wikileaks released emails from the DNC and John Podesta. These emails exposed how the Democrat Party rigged the primary race for Hillary Clinton. After an informed public unexpectedly rejected Hillary Clinton for president, Washington, D.C.’s rage against Assange boiled over. Assange was assigned a key role in the Russiagate conspiracy theory that charged Russia with handing Trump the 2016 election. In spring 2019, Ecuador revoked Assange’s asylum, and he was dragged out of the embassy to face extradition on more than a dozen espionage charges in the U.S.
But another possibility exists. President Trump could thumb his nose at the Deep State’s decade-long obsession with persecuting Assange, and give him the pardon he deserves. Revolver has advocated just such a course.
Remarkably, a steadily-growing group of fair-minded patriots around the world have come together to ask for Assange’s freedom. Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had her emails published by Wikileaks in 2008, but on Saturday she called her prior attacks on Assange a ‘mistake’ and called on President Trump to pardon the Wikileaks publisher. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz and Democrat Tulsi Gabbard have joined forces to endorse clemency for Assange as well. Actress Pamela Anderson wants clemency as well, as does Iranian dissident and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.
A recent tweet by Pastor Mark Burns mistakenly announcing an imminent pardon for Assange has racked up nearly 200,000 likes on Twitter.
Stella Moris-Smith Robinson is a human rights lawyer who was born in South Africa. She was a member of Assange’s legal team during his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy. Now, she is his fiancée. The pair have two children together. Moris has spent years fighting relentlessly for Assange’s freedom, and she graciously agreed to join Revolver for an exclusive interview.
First off, many thanks for agreeing to do this interview and for your bravery in defense of Julian and his mission. Your appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight was powerful and remains a must see for patriots all over the world. Let’s start with the crime with which Julian is actually charged, a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. Is there any evidence at all that Julian committed espionage? From what I’ve seen he published classified information, which is something that all major newspapers have done, such as the New York Times. Also there are claims that he assisted his source Chelsea in hiding her identity — which is also a standard journalistic practice. So where’s the actual crime here?
There isn’t one. This is an unconstitutional, political case that has bent the law to suit its political objective. It turns necessary journalistic practices — communicating with a source and having and publishing true information — into crimes.
Saying that it is a crime for Julian to have published this material is as absurd as saying that US journalists are legally bound not to violate China’s, Turkey’s, or France’s secrecy or censorship laws, even though they are publishing in the U.S. Whatever those countries’ legislations have to say about that, I think we can all agree — that proposition cannot be correct.
I sometimes hear Julian mentioned in the same breath as famous American whistleblowers. But their cases are different. They are American citizens. They worked for the US government. That does not apply to Julian. Julian is a publisher. He wasn’t in the United States. He wasn’t a government employee or a contractor. He never signed a confidentiality agreement. The only promise he made was to the public, to publish the truth about governments and corporations. Everyone has their role in a free society and Julian’s role is to publish.
The strength of the First Amendment is that it is simple, clear, absolute. It is truly exceptional when you compare it to equivalent rights in Europe, and that comes from the fact that it isn’t what people think it is. It doesn’t grant people rights that can be taken away. It bans lawmakers and the executive from interfering with speech and publishing. So what is unlawful is passing laws attempting to criminalize speech and the press.
So how do you get around that? Well you don’t — if you abide by the Constitution. What is happening is that those who are driving the case against Julian — the most sinister elements of the US government — are abusing the broad wording of an existing piece of legislation, the 1917 Espionage Act, to re-purpose it so that it will do what the First Amendment forbids: interfere with freedom of speech and the press. The political case against Julian has created a noose around the First Amendment rights of everyone.
During the Obama years, the DOJ normalized re-purposing the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers. But expanding it to apply to journalists and publishers is explicitly against what is in the the spirit and the wording of the Constitution. Congress’s stated intent when it passed the Espionage Act was that it would not apply to the press. Julian’s case is the first time it has ever been used against a publisher. That’s why everyone agrees, on all sides of politics, that the case against Julian is the number one threat to free speech and press freedom and that it will have catastrophic consequences for US democracy.
While Republicans may not have been concerned about this under the current administration, the threat that this case poses to them must now be obvious. It is a certainty that if the case proceeds, the precedent it sets will be abused by the most anti-democratic elements of future administrations.
As Chuck Shumer once famously pointed out, the Deep State can be absolutely ruthless in going after their perceived enemies. If their target hasn’t committed a crime, they’ll be sure to manufacture one for their purposes. After the sustained persecution of General Flynn, many patriots and Trump supporters are especially sensitive to the reality of political prosecutions in the United States. Is that your view of what’s going on here with Julian?
Yes. That is exactly what is happening to Julian.
It is clear from Julian’s tweets that he considers Flynn’s prosecution to have been political from the start. The interest in prosecuting Flynn was because of his political position. Roger Stone’s prosecution was also clearly politically motivated. Contrast these with James Clapper, who lied multiple times to Congress. Lying to Congress about illegal spying on the entire U.S. population is surely one of the gravest lies ever told to Congress. Clapper has escaped prosecution, Stone and Flynn have not.
The case against Julian is political and should never have been pursued. It is extremely controversial even within the DOJ. The Washington Post reported that two prosecutors working on the case resigned over Julian’s indictment under the Espionage Act, because they understood that it is a violation of the Constitution to apply it to a publisher and the result is that it will destroy the First Amendment.
In sworn testimony, US prosecutors conceded that there is no evidence that a single person has come to physical harm as a result of WikiLeaks publications. The computer charge is also political. It doesn’t even allege that Julian hacked anything, and it was destroyed in court by the US Army’s former chief forensic investigator who was a defence expert witness. DOJ prosecutors keep on moving the goalposts, so in the latest version of the indictment, incredible as it sounds, they’ve recruited a convicted pedophile and diagnosed psychopath, who Julian put behind bars, as their new witness.
A few days ago, Project Veritas leaked a long phone call between Julian and Hillary Clinton’s State Department where Julian told them that the US diplomatic cables would imminently be published online by others, against WikiLeaks wishes. He asked the State Department to meet with him to get more information and to take specific steps to prevent it, but they didn’t. Like with Benghazi, Hillary Clinton didn’t take the 3 a.m. call. Six days later, the State Department cables were published by New York leak publisher Cryptome. The DOJ admits that Cryptome published first and that at no point during the last decade did they bother to ask Cryptome to take the documents down, let alone move to charge them. The extraordinary precedent set is not only to outlaw publication, but also to outlaw re-publication.
The inexplicable decision not to indict Cryptome makes it clear that this is a selective, political prosecution. Julian is in prison fighting extradition, and he faces 175 years in prison in the US.
The asymmetry of the process is shocking. Preparing a case from prison is incredibly complicated, especially during COVID. Julian hadn’t seen his lawyers in the six months prior to the commencement of the extradition hearing in September. In court, he is not even allowed to sit with his lawyers and can barely speak to them.
John Bolton said the U.S. Intelligence community should use Wikileaks as ‘target practice.’ Hillary Clinton said that Assange ‘has to answer for what he’s done.’ Jeff Sessions, who ignored the Deep State’s illegal attacks on Trump, said that arresting Assange was a “priority.” James Comey reportedly intervened personally to prevent a deal that would have allowed Assange to leave the Ecuadorian embassy. James Clapper, who lied about NSA spying activities, said that Assange couldn’t be trusted and complained he “caused all kinds of grief” for U.S. intelligence. John Brennan, who lied to the U.S. Senate about Obama’s drone bombing campaign, called Julian “not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity.” When Julian was arrested, one U.S. senator bragged that “he’s our property.”
What is it about hating Julian Assange that unites so much of the Washington establishment?
The worst elements of government hate Julian because he has exposed their abuses against the public for years. Their self-interest is obvious. They are worried that they will be fired, defunded, or prosecuted, or won’t be able to wage what Julian calls “dangerous, stupid wars.” Julian has always been a believer in the legitimacy of the elected government rather than the unelected government. And it is the unelected government that feels most threatened by exposure.
Julian says war is a racket, and those who intend to profit through war at the expense of soldiers’ lives and the public’s taxes need the government to sell war to the population using lies. It is no secret that Julian considered Hillary Clinton to be a dangerous warmonger, and that the wars started when she was Secretary of State have created disastrous consequences.
The shadow state has pulled out all stops to silence and imprison Julian. He has been the victim of endless false stories. This is not simply lazy journalists making mistakes. To build political cover, false stories were planted in the lead up to his arrest. For example, The Guardian printed an entirely fabricated front-page story that Paul Manafort visited Julian at the embassy. That story was an elaborate lie planted through an operator who received $60,000 from the NED. The Guardian eventually walked back from its story but the damage had been done. Some of these false stories on CNN and in The Guardian were recently exposed by the top investigative team at Germany’s public broadcaster. The dark forces that plant stories have had the same playbook for decades. They know how to play on peoples’ fears. There’s a very interesting clip by a former CIA officer, John Stockwell, explaining how the CIA plants fabricated stories in the press. Everyone should watch it. It is appalling that Julian, who set up WikiLeaks to fight fake news and fight for peoples’ liberty, has been one of the main targets of fake news.
President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address to the nation of the undue influence of what he described as the military-industrial complex. Lack of accountability has allowed the shadow state to grow every larger and more powerful. When you consider how they misuse their power to covertly shape press narratives to the detriment of the public, Julian’s work with Wikileaks has been a necessary antidote. WikiLeaks hit the brakes on the growing influence of the worst elements of government for years. There are good people in the intelligence community, but the secret state as a whole threatens the democratic foundations of free societies. It is a bit like a vampire, it doesn’t like sunlight, and Julian is the sunlight.
Some of Julian’s best and most prescient work, such as his must-read piece “Google is Not What it Seems”, pertains to the emerging threat of Big Tech. WikiLeaks was an early target of censorship tactics that are now routinely deployed against those who question the ruling power-structure from both left and right. Have you spoken to Julian about Big Tech’s role in imposing a new censorship regime in the United States and the West? If so, could you give us a sense of his views on this topic and what this portends for the future?
Censorship now is mostly hitting the right, and the left has been extremely foolish to support it because it will eventually lead to a society that is oppressive to everyone.
Julian sees censorship on the internet as the biggest threat to preserving liberty in all its forms, globally. He sees thought control as an extremely dangerous phenomenon. He thinks it is a terrible strategic own-goal for the West to be engaging in it. The Big Tech companies should not be permitted to go down this path. The competitive advantage of the West in the new values competition with China is in its freedoms. The US is admired the world over for its First Amendment. If we are not careful and we continue down this path, we will import the worst aspects of China — it’s censorship system — into our society where it will stay.
What we’ve seen over the past decade is the progressive creation of a censorship complex, in which tech companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit in particular — have cut off a mass of accounts and channels from their platforms due to their political opinions. So it is a new phenomenon where these actors have become political censors. Julian’s case and its weakening of free speech protections have to be seen in the context of what’s going on with Big Tech. The US is going through its worst crisis of free speech in living memory, and this is happening just as the DOJ fatally undermines free speech protections through the political prosecution against Julian.
Julian has been years ahead of everyone else on this issue. He’s written books explaining that tech companies are not simply tech companies, and that in fact, they haven’t been for years. In 2013, he was the first to articulate the true nature of Google, at a time when the company was best known for its “Don’t be Evil” tagline and ping pong tables in the work place.
He’s also written about Big Tech’s relationship with the intelligence agencies, and how intelligence agencies have colonized the Internet infrastructure through those companies, and how illegal mass surveillance operates in practice and affects the entire US population. But there is a third element in this complex, which is how hidden interests work their way into censorship systems and thought control on the Internet: think tanks with very dubious sources of funding, including from Arab dictatorships and arms companies, and who have their own censorship agenda work hand-in-hand with these players. So the deus ex machina of our daily social interaction is an increasingly frightening combination of the above.
Beyond what it would mean for Julian, you and your young children together, what would a Presidential pardon of Julian Assange mean for the United States? What in your view is at stake in this pardon in the larger sense?
It’s no overstatement to say that U.S. democracy itself is at stake.
If Julian is not pardoned, it will be the end of the First Amendment. The case means catastrophically shifting the nature of American society from one of free and open debate about the nature of government, to one like China where the state controls who can publish and what can be published.
Julian’s powerful voice has been sorely absent during the massive and potentially irreversible developments of internet censorship because he has been wrongly imprisoned by the US Government’s extradition request for almost two years. He understands the technology and the politics, and has a sense of where we are and where we are going. The rest of the world is only just waking up to what he started writing about seven years ago.
Julian wants the West to be as good as it can be. He is serious about preserving liberties in the West, and he sees bringing the First Amendment to the world as his mission. Julian is really a once in a generation thought leader. I don’t just say that because I love him. Millions in the US and around the world know it too. His prosecution is bad for everyone because the world desperately needs him during this crisis of freedom and democracy. The DOJ has lost its way by indicting him. He’s a free speech hero. He needs to be out there, campaigning for our free speech, opposing forever wars and illegal surveillance by the unaccountable shadow state.
Think about what his extradition means: having the world’s foremost free speech proponent locked up in a US prison. China is already using the prosecution of Julian for his publishing work as a massive propaganda tool against the US. Seen objectively, Julian’s political prosecution is in no-one’s interests. Instead of demonstrating leadership of freedom and liberty, the US and its allies are being roasted by states like Azerbaijan. They always have the perfect comeback: What about Assange?
Do you hear from Trump supporters who want the President to pardon Julian? If so, what do they say? What would you say to the President if you had a chance to speak to him on this issue?
If I could speak to the President, I would tell him that Julian’s liberty and the liberty of the United States hang together. The President can save Julian, he can save our family, and he can save the First Amendment with a single stroke of his pen. It is in his power to do so. He is the only one who can do it, and he can do it today. He can do it now. Please — let him come home to his little boys. Save Julian’s life, save our freedoms and save the future of America.
I have a vision that the President will pardon Julian and that he will see freedom after years of confinement. I imagine Julian walking out past the razor-wire that surrounds Belmarsh prison, and into my arms and those of our children. I imagine my tears of joy and the cheers of millions throughout the US and around the world. I imagine us going for long walks in the countryside, and Julian growing strong and healthy again. I imagine him giving interviews, writing books and campaigning for our freedom of speech like the Julian I know.
It is clear that the overwhelming majority of the President’s supporters want to see this pardon and also share this vision.
If Julian dies or winds up in a US prison for life, which is a very serious risk if there is no pardon, the President will be blamed forever. It will take decades to claw back the freedoms we have enjoyed for so long. The mutual embrace of the twin evils of the collapse of the First Amendment and Internet censorship will cause irreversible damage and it might be too late for us all.
Can you say something about the conditions Julian has been living under in confinement? How is he holding up, both mentally and physically? You, Julian, and your young children have been put through challenges that are unimaginable to most. What’s the most difficult part for you, and how do you get through it?
I worry about Julian, about his health, about his survival. I worry that our children, who are children of a tender age, will be orphaned from their father. The hardest thing is to realize that the justice system is a misnomer and it can be instrumentalized for political ends.
Julian will not face a fair trial, not only because the Espionage Act does not permit a public interest defense, which is an obvious abuse for a publisher, but also because Alexandria, Virginia has deliberately been chosen as the venue for his trial in order to rig the outcome. No national security defendant has ever won a case there. The Alexandria court complex is 15 miles from CIA headquarters. It has a special rule: jury members cannot be excluded on the basis that they work for the government. It is horrendous.
I tell the children that daddy will come home soon, that he’s a hero and that he loves them. The only reason Julian is in prison and not at home with his family is because the DOJ issued a warrant for his arrest to the UK. Belmarsh prison is one of the UK’s worst prisons. Over the past two years since Julian’s arrest, I have had no choice but to bring the children there. The kids have to walk past razor wire and walk through layers of security, x-rays, and pat-downs before they can see their dad. Julian has not been allowed to hold his children since March, when the COVID rules started. It’s been very hard on all of us this year, because the COVID lockdown has meant there have been much fewer visits than before.
When we speak, I am sure to tell Julian about all the support there is for him. He is enormously encouraged by the overwhelming support for a pardon — from Sarah Palin to numerous Nobel Peace Prize winners, all campaigning for this to happen. That support has an extraordinary energy about it, in the United States and around the world. If the President issues a pardon, he will be forever commended for it, for having saved our liberties and for having saved Julian’s life.
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