A World Socialist Web Site reporting team spoke to some of those outside the High Court in London, who had come to support WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his fight against extradition.
Kim said before the verdict came in, “My personal opinion is that it’s all a bit of a travesty. I think it has a lot to do with what is going on just up the road with the Occupy protest at St. Paul’s Cathedral. There is not enough truth out there and Julian is one of the people who are helping to get the truth out there. And he is paying for it right now, and that says it all.
“There is no evidence against him, no charge, no prosecution, and there shouldn’t be any extradition. If you look into it deeply enough, what you find out about this case just doesn’t make sense. I am not a political person and if I can work that out, then others can too. The powers that be are trying to silence him.”
Asked what she thought was the significance of Assange’s work with WikiLeaks, Kim said, “I think he has opened a lot of people’s eyes. Because of the social networking era that we are in and the fact that more and more people are becoming more aware, people like him getting hold of stuff that others can’t get hold of, and making it available to the general populace, is so important.
“In a way I think Julian has already done his job. Everyone is now asking questions. It’s like the occupation at St. Paul’s. Me, you and the rest of the 99 percent are looking into things.
“But if anything did happen to Julian Assange I think it would be a travesty. He has started the ball rolling and will go down in history as pretty much the man who started the ball rolling. Hopefully, things will become clearer to more people and he will be able to get back up and running again because someone like him is important. He is someone who is prepared to take that step knowing what he is up against.”
Mag has attended a number of court hearings in defence of Assange. Speaking before the verdict, he said, “Over the last year I have seen several very biased and unfair court cases aimed at extraditing Julian Assange. We are here for the appeal today which I expect to be another biased and unfair court appearance.
“In Julian’s defence, there is no charge and no evidence to charge him with, so extraditing him would be illegal. None of the legal processes have been followed correctly here.
“This is because of the political and financial motivations for prosecuting him. There are a lot of very rich people behind the political bodies that are interested in prosecuting Julian Assange. When the prosecution was originally thrown out in Sweden, not once but twice, a junior person actually re-opened the case without being authorised to do so.
“Also, within the police force in Sweden, the officer who interviewed the two women who were making the allegations was actually a friend of theirs. So that makes their interview completely compromised. She also made sure there is no recording of the interview, so there are only some rather sketchy notes. They don’t show the interview process so they can be interpreted in more than one way. Again this disallows it as evidence.
“Another issue is that between interviews, the authorities did not prevent the two women from speaking to each other. Again this means the interviews are biased and they could have colluded with each other to construct false evidence against Julian Assange.”
Mag said that WikiLeaks “had exposed war crimes and corruption and had shown how the US military and other militaries have acted in what we would call a genocidal manner. We have also seen how banks and financial institutions had not followed regulations and how there is a lot of collusive behaviour in the financial system.”
About the war in Libya, he added, “The US have announced they are funding the rebels in Libya. But the people who are leading the rebels they are funding are in fact Al Qaeda. Weren’t they supposed to be the big terrorists, the bad guys from Afghanistan who bombed the World Trade Centre?”
Ben Griffin also attended in support of Assange and WikiLeaks. Griffin is an Iraq war veteran and former member of the British Special Air Services (SAS). In 2008, the previous Labour government took out a high court injunction to prevent Griffin from revealing further details about the government’s involvement in “extraordinary rendition”. (See “Britain: Labour government gags ‘extraordinary renditions’ whistleblower”)
The WSWS spoke to Griffin after the verdict: “It’s not really a surprise what has happened today. The powers that be want a decision in favour of themselves in this case. Julian has upset the British government, the American government, a lot of governments all around the world. They don’t like what his organisation is doing. It is releasing information that they would rather be kept secret. It’s releasing information about killing, torture, theft. The state would rather we didn’t know.
“So when you are in Julian’s situation and you got these very powerful enemies, it’s hardly surprising that you’ve got an arm of the state, which this court is, finding in favour of the state and against Julian.”
Asked what he thought about the financial and legal attacks on WikiLeaks, Griffin said, “Everyone in the mainstream press seems to have turned against Julian very quickly. There has been a noticeable change in Britain. Lots of commentators in the Guardian and the Independent have been writing pretty disgusting personal attacks on the man. Some of the commentators have never written a political piece in their life and they are suddenly writing about Julian Assange. You’ve got to ask, why are they starting to write this stuff? Who is asking them to write it?
“There has been a concerted and organised campaign against Julian and his organisation from the newspapers, from the courts, from the financial institutions. They’ve all turned on him to try to prevent him from continuing his work. It’s no surprise the financial institutions turned on him because he was about to release information about Bank of America and corruption there.
“WikiLeaks is a very important organisation because it is on the side of the people. He has changed the game and has shone light on the fact that the state maintains itself through violence. The attacks on Julian have nothing to do with his work. They have concentrated on personal issues. And now you see recent trends whereby people are attacking his work and saying it is irresponsible.”
A WSWS reporter also spoke to Susan after the verdict: “I expected this appeal to be lost, but it’s still tragic. What’s happened today shows that these are not the Royal Courts of Justice, but the Royal Courts of Injustice. They are here to basically support the rich and powerful in the world. I don’t believe that these judges are impartial. I don’t think they are looking at the case for what it is. Because everything about this case says there is no case. It is just ridiculous. He hasn’t even been charged, for starters.”
“I think they are trying to destroy WikiLeaks any way that they can. They are using these financial institutions to try to cripple their funding and trying to destroy everything they represent. And if they can’t do it legally because there is no legal case against them, they are doing everything else that they can to try and stop WikiLeaks.
“It is costing WikiLeaks a lot of money to fight this case and they are being strangled financially at the same time because of their lack of donations.”
Ciaron O’Reilly, an anti-war activist who has protested in defence of Assange at numerous court appearances, said “I am outraged at what has happened today, an extradition without any charge at all. It’s very much part of the war effort and these courts are part of it. We’ve been at war for over 20 years with the people of Iraq, through the first Gulf war, then the sanctions, then the invasion in 2003. And we’ve been at war for ten years now in Afghanistan. Julian has done a lot to tell us about the nature of those wars and that is why they are so keen to silence him.”