Christine Assange Interview Pt. 2: Asylum in Ecuador and the future of Wikileaks
June 28, 2012
As Wikileaks founder Julian Assange enters the ninth day in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, his mother, Christine Assange continues to be an outspoken advocate for free press and free information. Christine herself has become an information powerhouse of sorts, spending her days recapping facts of the case to various media outlets because information is power and will be the ultimate key to Julian’s freedom, she insists.
“What we’ve got is an information war,” Christine said. “People can support Julian on the principle of the matter, but they are much more authentic if they can argue the full facts.”
She speaks to her son regularly, reassuring that he is in “good spirits” and being treated very well in the embassy. Christine adds that surprisingly, he’s more relaxed than she’s seen him in a long time.
Even with financial blockades, extradition threats, house arrest without any criminal charges and even politicians advocating his assassination, Julian still has a “fighting spirit,” Christine said. Supporters around the world are powering him to keep Wikileaks alive to spearhead the fight for transparency, she said. The world needs whistleblowers like Julian exposing horrific American war crimes, especially in the time of the Barack Obama, a “rogue dictator.”
“Through the Wikileaks cables, the United States revealed themselves to be global tyrants,” Christine said. “Because they couldn’t discredit the cables, they had to pressure for a financial blockade on Wikileaks.”
Since December 2010, MasterCard, Visa, Bank of America, PayPal and Western Union have all prevented customers from donating to Wikileaks, blocking 95 percent of its donations.
During Julian’s stay at the embassy, Christine said he’ll be working on the case fighting against Valitor, an Icelandic company that processes Wikileaks’ donations, over suspension of financial services. The case is the first of many against various other banking blocks. The financial blockades have cost Wikileaks nearly $20 million in donations.
Ecuador’s ambassadors have been welcoming of Julian, and hopes of her son being approved for political asylum are high; however, she still stresses the importance of political pressure.
In the nine days since Julian has took refuge in the embassy, more than 10,000 emails of support have poured into Ecuador’s US and UK embassies. Just Foreign Policy, a civil liberties activist group, has also sent a letter advocating asylum for Julian to Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa. The letter included signatures of directors Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, activist Noam Chomsky and actor Danny Glover.
Christine urges free information advocates to write a letter of support, spread information online, but most importantly, take the fight for information out onto the streets. If we don’t fight for a free press, we will lose it altogether, she said.
“Get off Twitter, and get to that rally,” Christine said. “We need bodies in the streets. There’s lots of support online, but the average person doesn’t see that. We need thousands of people on the street supporting what Julian is doing.”
If asylum isn’t granted, Christine said her son will apply for political asylum elsewhere and appeal to the Court of Human Rights. But even if Julian ends up in the hands of the United States justice system, she assures Wikileaks will continue.
“Pandora’s box is open and will not be shut,” Christine said. “This is the new way information is going to be spread.” -G. Razo