, 68 tweets, 22 min read Read on Twitter
Not a convention debate! We're going to do a series of one on one debates. Robin Lustig interviews @arusbridger first. #assange
Lustig: what we are going to discuss here is whether #Assange is deserving of our solidarity. Ok then, let's have that conversation..
Rusbridger: #assange has many different identities, but he's certainly part journalist. "the things he is accused of are things journalists do every day of the week, or should do"
Rusbridger: the initial charge was "ridiculously weak... Any journalist would do that... He was trying to help his source avoid detection. What honourable journalist would not help their source avoid detection?"
Rusbridger asked about falling out with #Assange. "he falls out with lots of people.. There is part of him that has something like contempt for the people that used to be the gatekeepers"
Asked for specifics, Rusbridger talks about a later encounter w #Assange, which was filmed - basically this comes down to things the guardian would not publish due to UK libel laws.
“those kinds of niceties did not weigh as heavily on him as they did on me“ #assange
Rusbridger: "I've always said that I would stand beside #assange for the things we published together"
Rusbridger asked if 2016 releases are relevant to whether he should be supported. "I don't think it is because he's not been charged for that." #assange
Rusbridger on 2016: "we all have sources who have disreputable motives" - content should matter more. #Assange
Rusbridger: no regrets about collaborating with Wikileaks. #assange
Question from audience about the Guardian Manafort story (though that's after @arusbridger's time of course).
"The espionage act charges are ridiculously over the top" @arusbridger unambiguously opposed to the US superseding indictment v #Assange, especially the extra territorial aspect
What happens if a British journalist wants to write about the Indian or Israeli nuclear projects? "extraordinary" we could consider extraditing someone for that, one of the main reasons why #Assange's extradition should be opposed
"I have nothing to do with the guardian nowadays" @arusbridger on Guardian's Manafort story. #Assange
Our next speaker will be @DAaronovitch. Less sympathetic (and informed) I'd imagine. #assange
Lustig: are you prepared to say why you regard #Assange as a destroyer? @DAaronovitch we should ask what we should say if this were about anyone else.
A Swedish charges / allegations fillip has already caused consternation in the room.
aaronovitch: WL has raised profound issues since 2010. Who gets to be a journalist? Who are they accountable to? #assange
(to who does @DAaronovitch answer..?)
Aaronovitch: the motivation of the source does matter. #Assange
Aaronovitch: as members of a democratic society, do we want our intelligence agencies to have no secrets? #Assange
Aaronovitch: established media organisations have refined procedures for dealing with these issues. #Assange
Aaronovitch says "of course" he would have published the Manning releases. "I agree with the positions the guardian took" #Assange
Aaronovitch: "there are people in the media sphere who are acting in the interests of the Russian state" #Assange
Aaronovitch: I don't think #Assange should be extradited and if he is he should be acquitted.
Aaronovitch is critical about what #Wikileaks did in 2016, but he sees it as a moral failure I think rather than a legal / espionage-act one. #Assange
Does Julian #Assange deserve our support. @DAaronovitch "he should not be extradited"
Ginsberg accepts that freedom of speech is not an absolute right. Is the US entitled to prosecute him on national security grounds? #Assange
Ginsberg: "the US government is using a law aimed at spies against someone engaged in journalistic activity" #Assange
"we need to defend the right to receive information and be informed much more vocally" @jodieginsberg #Assange
Jodie Ginsberg talks about recent police raids on journalists in Australia. Governments' use of national security powers need to be closely monitored #assange
Ginsberg asked whether a court of law is the appropriate place to consider these issues. Yes, but "not clear" whether #Assange charges have sufficient grounds to issue proceedings at all.
"the US is just the tip of the iceberg". Northern Irish warrants quashed this month were extraordinarily broad. #Assange
Ginsberg asked if #Assange should go to court and rely on a perverse jury a la Clive Ponting. Not a realistic prospect in EDVA!
Ginsberg asked by @SMaurizi if the British media has failed Julian #Assange.
Ginsberg: "#Assange is pretty high profile", many torture / extradition cases get far less attention. Yes the reaction in the UK is interesting in some ways...
Vaughan Smith next up. In his own gaff! #assange
Vaughan on not falling out with #Assange: "strong personalities can conflict... I don't put too much into that"
How does Vaughan explain the bad rep #Assange gets? "he's being smeared on an industrial scale"
Vaughan turns to Nils Melzer's "ganging up" quote - "I am horrified by the way we've treated Julian" #Assange
Vaughan: "it is beneath us" to indulge smears by Ecuador. "journalists owed him more protection" #Assange
Vaughan asked whether skipping bail destroyed #assange's reputation. points out that Sweden situation not being resolved disadvantages Julian too (obviously the case)
Vaughan attributes the failure to @cpsuk and the Swedish Prosecution Service. "there was no attempt to prosecute, there was an attempt to defame" #Assange
Vaughan: "we've treated Julian #Assange like a caged animal" - UK press has failed him, "this stuff is beneath us"
Vaughan asked is some info should remain secret. He doesn't disagree. "this whole debate about transparency was started by Julian, but we never talk about the issues, we only ever talk about the man" #Assange
Vaughan: I've had this conversation with Julian #Assange too and he doesn't think everything should be public, though I'm not sure exactly where he draws the line.
Should #Assange have just gone to court? Assange: I think the legal process, by the Americans and supported by us, is being used for revenge and to discourage others.
Vaughan: "I do not think Julian #Assange has equality under the law in this country... The law is being used as a vehicle to get him to America"
Vaughan asked if Russia / 2016 allegations are part of the smear campaign. Also if #Assange enjoys the media attention.
Vaughan: Julian was "really suffering" in his last year at the embassy. Mueller doesn't find anything criminal in #assange's actions.
Vaughan: comical to talk about Julian #Assange as anyone's agent given how unbiddable he is. Reminds everyone that J turns 48 tomorrow.
Vaughan asked if he has faith in the independence of the judiciary: "less than I did". Talks about @SMaurizi's foi battle and she gets a well deserved round of applause. #Assange
The last turn is @suigenerisjen's. #Assange
Jen asked about the extradition battle. Doesn't want to say too much but issues will be raised around dual criminality and free speech concerns. #Assange
Jen: not just talking about the official secrets act, the extraterritorial element is extremely important. #Assange
Jen asked about publication of unredacted cables and we're into the @davidleighx "password in book" farrago. "this story is very rarely told". Noone could ever show harm in @xychelsea case. #Assange
Jen hits back at suggestion that State Department cables "were just tittle tattle" #Assange
Asked about status of Swedish preliminary investigation. "Julian #Assange has offered his testimony and continually litigated in Sweden to offer his testimony without the risk of us extradition"
One allegation outstanding in Sweden and investigation is ongoing. No arrest warrant has been issues. Answering qs in Sweden is no issue with a guarantee of no onward extradition. #assange
Jen asked about what happens if there is a Swedish request. "the home Secretary would be in a rather difficult position" #Assange
Audience member compares #assange's positon to that of Anna politkovskaya and Alexander litvinenko.
Jen: Wikileaks has never confirmed receiving information from Guccifer2, whereas other media organisations have! #Assange
Jen notes that Guardian's publication of the Manafort story is quite extraordinary given that they clearly had access to the visitor logs. Story is "implausible" #Assange
"I think the media is complicit in allowing what Trump has just done." @suigenerisjen #assange
"it doesn't matter whether you consider #Assange a journalist or not... Had the media stood with him, I think it would have been politically impossible for those charges to be brought" @suigenerisjen
And we're done.
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