Hello! You are part of a community of millions who seek out Democracy Now! each month for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the voices of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We produce all of this news at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation. We do this without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on support from viewers and listeners like you. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $10 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make a monthly contribution.

Your Donation: $
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: "Fire in the Blood": Millions Die in Africa...

WikiLeaks Legal Adviser: "We Steal Secrets" Overlooks Key Facets of Julian Assange’s Persecution

This is viewer supported news

Alex Gibney’s new documentary, "We Steal Secrets," bills itself as "the Story of WikiLeaks," but our guest Jennifer Robinson, a legal adviser to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, claims it misses key facts. "This is, of course, a film about WikiLeaks, about the largest leak in history," Robinson says. "It touches on incredibly important issues about journalism and whistleblowing. But unfortunately, I do not think that this film does justice to those issues. ... This film does not recognize the threats that WikiLeaks faces in terms of potential U.S. prosecution." [includes rush transcript]


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Park City, Utah, from the Sundance Film Festival. To talk more about the documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, we’re joined by Jennifer Robinson, legal adviser for Julian Assange.

We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Jennifer.


AMY GOODMAN: You watched the film. What were your thoughts?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Well, I think this is a film that touches upon an incredibly important subject matter. This is, of course, a film about WikiLeaks, about the largest leak in history. It touches on incredibly important issues about journalism and whistleblowing. But unfortunately, I do not think that this film does justice to those issues.


JENNIFER ROBINSON: In particular, I think—look, filmmaking is—of course, has its challenges. I think Alex Gibney is an incredible filmmaker and has made some very important films. But filmmakers have to make choices. And what I think are interesting about the choices here is that this film does not recognize the threats that WikiLeaks faces in terms of potential U.S. prosecution. It does not reference the grand jury. It seeks to present Julian Assange as a fantasist and a paranoid fantasist, while not recognizing the threats that he faces. In particular, the film states specifically that Ecuador granted asylum without evidence. Now, we know it doesn’t refer—the film doesn’t refer to the grand jury. These are objectively available facts that are on the public record. There is a grand jury in existence. There is an active, ongoing criminal investigation against Julian Assange. It was discovered through diplomatic cables from the Australian government that the criminal investigation is of unprecedented size and scale. Now, this film does not reference that in any shape or form, and I think that’s an incredible oversight.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play a clip of Julian Assange. When we interviewed him, he was speaking inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. And this is the clip where I ask him why he believes that if he were sent to Sweden, he could be extradited to the United States, and if he’s actually negotiating with the Swedish government right now.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, Amy, Ecuador has really stepped up to the plate and must be congratulated. I have been found to be, through a formal process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a political refugee and have been granted political asylum, in relation to what has been happening in the United States and allied countries and their behavior—Sweden and the United Kingdom. The situation for me now is that I have been here for five months in this embassy; prior to that, 18 months under house arrest; prior to that, being chased around the world for about six months by U.S. intelligence and its allies.

Now, I must correct an earlier statement that you made—this has become common in the press—saying that I was here in relation to Sweden. The reason I am here is essentially in relation to the United States. But the Swedish government said publicly that it would imprison me without charge. And in such a situation, I’d not be able to apply for asylum. Now, the Ecuadorean government has asked the Swedish government to give a guarantee that I would not be extradited to the United States. We have asked for a long time for such a guarantee. That has been refused. All the regular processes have been refused in this case. You know, it’s an extremely odd and bizarre case, and I encourage everyone to go and look at that aspect of the case at justice4assange.com. And you can see report after report. You can see all the material that the police claim to be true and all the things that have occurred, the Cambridge International & Comparative Law Journal condemning the decisions that were made here in the British courts.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Julian Assange speaking to us from inside the Ecuadorean embassy, where he’s been holed up for something like eight months now, not clear when he will come out. But, Jennifer Robinson, our guest now, the legal adviser to Julian Assange, your response to filmmaker Alex Gibney saying that why should he be above the law? Why should he get an assurance from the Swedish government he won’t be extradited to the United States? Because the Swedish government would take that in turn, if the request came in.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Well, of course, he’s—we’re not suggesting that he’s above the law. This film fails to recognize the reason that he was—that he sought asylum. It is not with respect to the allegations in Sweden. He has offered his testimony with respect to Sweden. The Swedish prosecutor has, in other cases, interviewed suspects outside of the country. [inaudible-technical problems]

Show Full Transcript ›
‹ Hide Full Transcript

Recent Shows More

Full News Hour


    A People’s Climate Movement: Indigenous, Labor, Faith Groups Prepare for Historic March
    New York City is set to host what could be the largest climate change protest in history. Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to converge for a People’s Climate March on Sunday. Some 2,000 solidarity events are scheduled around the world this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s United Nations climate summit. We spend the hour with four participants representing the labor, indigenous, faith and climate justice communities: Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the president of Union Theological Seminary, which recently voted to divest from fossil...

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.