Author Topic: WikiLeaks: banking war with giants – interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson  (Read 2399 times)

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WikiLeaks: banking war with giants – interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson

John Robles, Aug 6, 2012 12:06 Moscow Time
For Audio of the Interview please visit:
Photo: RIA Novosti

WikiLeaks is trying to take the major financial powers to court and have them pay compensation for the massive damage they have caused. In an interview to The Voice of Russia the official spokesman for WikiLeaks Kristinn Hrafnsson says it’s for the sake of all other organizations including media that could face such blockade. He also tells about the Syria files and Assange waiting for Ecuadorian reply after the Olympics are finished.

Could you tell our listeners a little bit about the situation with WikiLeaks, with the latest release and the banking scandal?

We’re fighting a big fight on many fronts at the moment. We’re of course monitoring from a distance the attempt of the US government to prosecute members of the WikiLeaks. It’s become apparent in the last few weeks that this is a very-very serious attempt. People have been subpoenaed to Grand Jury in Alexandria, Virginia, on the basis of possible violations of Espionage Act of 1917 in the US which carries up to the death penalty.

It’s also been revealed that the FBI gathered more than 40,000 documents in the investigation into WikiLeaks. So, we’re very worried about trends there and we believe that indictment is imminent against Julian Assange and possibly others associated with WikiLeaks. You mentioned, of course, the banking blockade which we have been putting a great emphasize on, not just because of WikiLeaks, but for all other concerns. It’s the first time that the major financial powers, - MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Western Union, Bank of America, - all came up against the organization that is simply fighting for transparency and accountability. So the banking blockade is of serious concern. We have been spending a lot of our resources and time in fighting back. And we’re now seeing the first indication that that fight is going to deliver us a good result. Only a few weeks ago we won a court case in Reykjavik, Iceland, against Valitor, which is formerly Visa Iceland. It was by court order to open up processing gateway. They appealed to this issue and we will take them on in the Supreme Court in Iceland.

WikiLeaks opened up credit card gateway in France through Carte Bleue to transfer donations. The legal environment in France is such that it’s extremely difficult for the America-based giants to close it down. And if they attempt, we’re ready with lawsuits and we’ll take them on in the court in France. So this is still open. The opportunity is there to donate WikiLeaks. We, of course, have other lawsuit pending, one – in Denmark this fall and in England, in the States, in Australia and elsewhere.

Our ultimate aim is to take the giants to court and have them pay compensation for the tremendous damage they have caused to the organization. But let me emphasize, this is not just for WikiLeaks’ sake, it’s for the sake of all other organizations, even media organizations that could face such blockade. It’s extremely important to fight back and stop this process right here and now so that we won’t see in the future financial giants deciding who lives and who dies in this field.

Can you answer a question? How does the US apply a US law such as Espionage Act to citizens of other countries?

We simply know that people had been subpoenaed on the basis of this act. When politics come to play, laws can be twisted. It is of serious concern how they will try to carry it out against citizens of other nations. It is beyond my understanding. But I’m sure that they will try to find the way to do it.

Can you tell us about your latest release? And I know you have been asked about Julian many-many times. Could you tell our listeners something you might know about the case?

As for your question about the current release, the Syria files, it is set of emails pertaining to the Syrian government shedding a light not just on the internal workings of the Syrian government and the officials, but also about the opposition in Syria. What we, of course, hope with this release is that the information would add to the knowledge about the current situation in Syria which is very grave and that it would possibly lead to outcome that is acceptable.

You asked me about Julian Assange. He’s still in the Ecuadorian Embassy waiting for the decision of Ecuadorian authorities on whether they will grant him political asylum in Ecuador. The Ecuadorian authorities indicated they would wait until after the Olympics to give their final reply. They have been using the time to gather information about the imminent threats from the US, about the Swedish case and about the position of UK authorities. So we don’t know the outcome until the Ecuadorian authorities are ready to announce their decision. As for Julian – it is of course not an easy thing to be locked inside for weeks, but he’s holding out pretty well.

One more question. You said that members of WikiLeaks are being targeted by the US government.

Seven individuals – founders and members of WikiLeaks - are under investigation by the FBI. That was revealed in Bradley Manning hearing. We don’t know any more details of who they are. But we do know that people who have been associated with WikiLeaks even just as volunteers or supporters, - they have been detained, their computers have been confiscated etc. So this is an extremely serious situation.

You mentioned the Grand Jury did take place.

We have confirmation that it is taking place. Of course, it’s in secrecy so all the information that have sort of sipped out there is from people who have been subpoenaed there. But it has been confirmed. It’s an archaic part of our system that only can stay corrupt. And it should be strange for any healthy democracy to keep system where those who are under investigation have absolutely no representation and no possibility to monitor what is being done.