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22nd Jul 2013 9:00am | By Carol Driver
How will it work logistically if you win?
If I’m elected, I’m meant to take my Senate seat in July 2014. Hopefully [my] situation will be resolved by then. It is in essence a political situation, it involves the prestige of a number of states, so it is, to a degree, fluid. If it is resolved by that time in the US, and it drops its investigation against me, and the Swedes drop their investigation, then I can return to Australia. If that doesn’t happen, if the US continues its investigation and there is no safe passage then, I won’t be able to take up my seat in Australia.
If after two months I still cannot take my seat, then the Senate can elect to give me further time, or not ... Let’s assume it doesn’t, because I think I know where they’re at, then my running mate can take the seat, or any publicly recognised member of the WikiLeaks Party can take the seat until such time as I am able to return.
Back in 2010, you were accused of sexual assault by two women. Why don’t you face the charges?
When you embarrass very, very powerful groups like the US and its allies ... then you get a lot of smear coming back the other way ... There are no charges – that’s an important grounding point. If the Swedish government wants to speak to me, [they can] come here, or alternatively provide a guarantee that I will not be extradited to the US.
The Ecuadorian government has asked for that, it’s not just me asking for this, it’s perfectly normal – these guarantees are given all the time. They won’t provide a guarantee, they won’t provide a reason they won’t provide a guarantee, they won’t come to the Ecuadorian Embassy. It’s simply an unreasonable way to behave.
The Ecuadorian government received my application for asylum, processed it and formally found that my fears of persecution by the US ... were reasonable and as a result I was granted political asylum.
So you believe there are political motivations?
I don’t want to say that there are political motivations ... But the entire situation has been politicised and is something that has been pushed by the US. When a matter reaches a certain political level, normal justice is thrown out the window, so normal due process is disregarded, and that is something that’s happened in this case, in the US case, in the case of Bradley Manning, it’s happening right now in the case of Edward Snowden with the US trying to interfere with his rights to asylum, just like the British government is trying to interfere with my right to asylum.
WikiLeaks has exposed classified information about governments, military, politicians, corporations. What motivates you to make secret information public?
Some days I think it’s just that I don’t like lying arseholes [laughs]. And other days when I’m feeling less combative and more cerebral, then I just think I like educating people. And by education I don’t mean chalk in the classroom, although that’s part of it. I mean adult education: what kind of world do we live in? How does it actually work? If you do this what happens?
I hate these moralising journalists – although I must confess that I probably do seem to be one – who say you should care about this. Why? Why should someone care more about themselves, their family, their business and then the community? Yes, of course, everyone should care a little bit about everyone else, but, of course, they should also care more about their children than someone else’s children ... that’s the way things should be.
By leaking classified military information, do you feel you’ve done anything wrong?
We don’t need to talk about feelings, because we have facts. The facts are, despite the propaganda, no government, not the Pentagon, not the CIA, not the White House, no government department says a single person has come to physical harm from our publications. So the answer is no.
Will you ever be a free man?
Well, I’m free now in the most important respect. My thoughts are free and I can speak.
Photos: Getty; Allen Clark Photography, Anthony Devlin, John Pryke 2012, Andrew Drummond
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