Simonyan: Assange's Paranoia Was Justified, Knew Ahead of Time About His Arrest!
Now on the phone is RT Channel and Russia Today's Editor-in-Chief, Margarita Simonyan.
— Hello, Margarita!
— Back in July, you already wrote about the possible Julian Assange's extradition by the Ecuadorian embassy. Why do you think it happened only now? As far as we know, you talked to Assange in 2014. Tell us about the impression he made on you at that time, and how does he find those interesting information sources of his?
— I talked to Assange well before 2014. You may know that Assange hosted his own show on our channel. We met, we talked and negotiated on the subject of this show well before he was locked up in the Embassy of Ecuador. When other people, myself included, treated the security issues lightly, he realized the gravity of the situation. We didn't understand yet that any phone in our hands or in our pocket is actually a microphone and a potential spying device which enables spying on any person. Even back then, he already understood it. He was very cautious not to talk about anything but the weather in any room. When I visited him in his cabin, (it was his friend's cabin, quite a poor, I'd say, even a shabby cabin; his friend let him live there while he was on home detention with a bracelet) we would leave this cabin and walk to a nearby forest. That's where we could have a conversation. Of course, he told overwhelming, eye-opening things about how the world works, what the Internet giants, like Google, really are, and other companies too. About the way all the things we have let into our lives which are believed to make our life more comfortable and interesting, are actually designed to spy on us, as well as to manage the mood of crowds, and they are even capable of overthrowing governments and ruin entire states.
Later on, we saw how all of it really happened. But Julian spoke about it well before it became obvious to many people. Even still, it's not obvious to everybody. But, evidently, for many people. You know, he's actually a man who changed the world. Of course, he's, first and foremost, the greatest journalist of our time. Because he's the only journalist—and he was acting in the role of a journalist, I believe—who managed to change the world to the extent Julian Assange actually did. Anywhere he could, he was speaking about the world-wide hypocrisy which is ruling the world. Unfortunately, this world-wide hypocrisy has won today.
— Margarita, was it obvious to you that, sooner or later, Julian Assange would be arrested? Am I right? Why did the embassy of Ecuador…
— It was obvious to me because, as far as I remember, Assange has never been mistaken. He told me about it himself. He told me himself that the Americans would change the power in Ecuador and Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, under whom Assange was granted the political asylum, (who is our good friend, by coincidence, he hosts his own show on our Spanish channel) is no longer the president of Ecuador. Assange told me that the Americans would overthrow him, putting another person in his place, and the condition for this swap would be for the new person to extradite Assange. He told it many years ago. He said, «You'll see, Ecuador will betray me, deprive me of the political asylum, I'll be turned over to the British police, then the British will extradite me to Sweden, after that, Sweden will extradite me to the USA, where I'm in for capital punishment.»
— Yes, Correa has already called Julian Assange's arrest a crime. As far as I understand…
— A betrayal. He called it the greatest betrayal.
— As far as I understand, the answer to the question, «Why did the Embassy of Ecuador take this step?» is obvious. Do you also believe that the authorities of Great Britain just found the right arguments which were heard in the Embassy of Ecuador?
— What's this nonsense? What arguments? What British authorities? It's just America…
— Well, there's a version that Great Britain…
— ...put forward the conditions to the president.
— Do you mean that you don't believe that the British authorities have negotiated with the Embassy of Ecuador? Do you believe it's just the USA acting in a direct way?
— Of course, it was all made to look like that, as they always do in this world. Please, just hear out what Julian Assange has to say, and you'll see more clear how the things actually are.
— Can we assume now what charges can be made concerning his activities connected to the leaking?
— Yes, it's obvious. Classified information, hacking, interference, anything you like. They'll pile enough for many decades in prison, and it's the best-case scenario.
— Margarita, you're saying that Julian realized himself that, sooner or later, the arrest was imminent. Did he prepare for it somehow?
— How can you prepare for it? He's the bravest man. Take into account that, for nearly 7 years, he was confined in the conditions which are much worse than conditions in prison. Because there they let people outside. The see the sun. He hasn't seen the sun in almost 7 years. That Embassy of Ecuador where he lived (I visited him there several times) is nothing more than an apartment. It's just, if I'm not mistaken, a 2-bedroom apartment, and he occupied one of the bedrooms there, a small bedroom. There, he had no opportunity to go for a walk, naturally, because as soon as he'd leave this apartment, they'd have arrested him. Well, maybe he could stick his arm out of the window to somehow feel the sunlight. That's how he lived for almost 7 years. Moreover, recently, the new Ecuadorian government did everything they could to turn his life into hell. They forbade him to use the Internet, to have visitors, any communication was forbidden to him, and today, they just gave him away treacherously, and that's it.
— Yes, for these 7 years, Julian Assange has been basically waiting for the arrest in these conditions.
Thank you! We've talked to RT Channel and Russia Today's Editor-in-Chief, Margarita Simonyan.