tv Cross Talk RT April 17, 2019 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
hello and welcome to cross town where all things are considered i'm peter lavelle that can be known as journalism is under assault and it didn't start with the trials of julian assange and wiki leaks once it was a noble act to report on the nefarious activities of those in power now it is being criminalized free speech is now the privileged few. across talking journalism i'm joined by my guest john white in edinburgh he's a political commentator and writer in london we have george galloway he's a former member of parliament broadcaster and writer also in london we have michael patch and joyce he is a barrister with a place chambers specializing in european international law cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i always appreciate i'm
going to ask all three of you the same question from the very start here is journalism being criminalized george first in london yeah i think you're right to pin this is a systemic problem it's not just about julian assange this is just the latest station for the cross on the via dolorosa heading to the final demise of what's called freedom of expression here in this country and i think in other western countries we have the chilling effect of monopoly or north ship of the so-called mainstream media the chilling effect of the state broadcaster of the b.b.c. the chilling effect of regulators like of course which regulates this program today for example the chilling effect of the new regulator of the internet the our press but the government's statement in that week. to fake news but
actually to try and fake news along with to say the journalist profession going like sheep into the pen on the principle that you've got to go along to get along so i think we're in real trouble here in the west so far as freedom of expression is concerned ok michael in london you're obviously a legal expert you're a barrister i mean do you see that the law in the in the profession of journalism or are they on a collision here because there is a lot of questions i mean critics of julian assange and wiki leaks that they don't call me a journalist and they don't call week leaks the publisher. there is that's a very difficult legal question i suppose i mean people like myself have very strong opinions but from a your legal perspective how does it look to you go ahead. you're absolutely right there are lots of nice questions in this area but going back to the question that
you posed is journalism being criminalized that serve very serious charge and one which i don't think is being made out it's right there is always a tension between government who wants to keep certain aspects of government close to and journalism which wants to open those aspects of government that's why the press has historically been referred to as the fourth a state of the fourth a state from the legislature the executive and of course the judiciary so there is going to be a tension there always has been a tension and we need to be vigilant to make sure that the balance is maintained but in terms of journalism being criminalized no i don't think that that is an allegation which can be established ok john i mean the criminalization of
journalism but what about journalists that are uncovering the crimes of the state ok they want to avoid that happening again i mean we go to this case obviously with julian assange and we keep leaks here they have a sterling record of reporting releasing unlike the mainstream media that it was its card by reporting fake news all the time so it's being criminalized saying the truth of it one could draw that conclusion go ahead john. well the operative word in your statement here peter is craig screams of the state and you know i must take exception to what make us just of it because this poses a very profound philosophical question our governments are low to keep crazy secret not pearcey secrets but crane's secrets from their people and i would argue no they're not so journalism is being criminalized and journalists are being criminalized that actually is a distinction with there a difference a plate of chelsea manning the plate of julian assange and also edward snowden leaks no doubt of journalism in a conventional sense in a democracy and
a fully functioning democracy is meant to hold the powerful to account on behalf of the people we know have a part of the shift in the rest whereby journalists see their rulers holding the people to account on behalf of the perfectly and it's a very dangerous shift and one even deeper on this issue what julian assange has explored is an empire for it is an empire that is in decline growing ever more insecure and resorting to ever more aggressive efforts in a text up hold the idea for which it exists which is essentially that this is a base of all possible worlds julius and meet made a mistake if you can still call it a mistake opening the window and shedding the early on the reality of what we call democracy in the west you know george did journalism and journalists have always had kind of a special category going back to something that michael had to say here i think we should all feel very very uncomfortable and very worried even angry that julian
assigned could possibly be tried in the united states under the espionage act ok because those of us that remember i was a little boy but i do remember the pentagon papers and that went all the way to the supreme court and every step of the way daniel ellsberg one i don't think that would happen today go ahead george. well if michael had been with me outside the grimm brothers and walls up belmarsh on sunday he wouldn't be sore sanguine about this question of. whether or not journalism is being criminalized because in the case of julian assange jip very clearly has this is a multiply award winning journalist and publisher man whose work used to be plastered on the front pages of some of the world's most prominent newspapers virtually every one of which has now mick curated upon him in his travails these publications were happy to run with julian assange dj's journalism because it was
as john white has just said revelation of information of criminal activity by powerful states and if that's not the rule of journalism i'm hard pushed to come up with a definition of what journalism is it is the right of the public to know if their governments are committing crimes sometimes you can only reveal those crimes by a criminal action itself i give you a very good example in the building behind me of the daily telegraph one of the big newspapers in the british state published stolen computer disks of the information about members of parliament on a mass scale hundreds of members of parliament fiddling their expenses stealing from the taxpayer and they published it in the public interest and they were right to do so and commended for doing so but the original act of the theft of those
disks was in itself a crime but sometimes like chelsea manning a crime has to be committed to reveal a big our crime in the public interest no i don't believe that ellsberg would been cleared in the courts of the united states in twenty nineteen not least because the supreme court of the. united states has been stuffed for bush republican trump nominees who are stewardess for the prevailing orthodoxy much the same way the members of the courts across the world have been it's always been a conservative institution the judiciary in the past did have a an appreciation of the fourth how that valuable role to play it is i'm
afraid the fourth has become a sink estate ok michael george mentioned the phrase public interest here and we had the guardian the washington post the new york times c.n.n. b.b.c. guy could go on and on they were they were publishing or showing the work of we and they in the leaks was heralded for its investigative work so why isn't the washington post in the new york times why aren't they in the dock as well because they disseminated this information they made a lot of money off of it i suppose too because it was very sensational particularly when we look at the protest the e-mails and the clinton e-mails and that was a real gravy train for all of those news outlets that day in and day out it was a real circus but they picked loved it michael why would why the double standard or maybe there isn't a standard here go ahead michael in london i don't think there is a double standard there original question was about whether journalism and
journalists across the board were being criminalized so i was responding to that broad charge and i don't think that that broad charge can be made out at all now george raises rightly the example of the m.p.'s expenses scandal and the way in which that was reported by the day the telegraph and he makes the point that the original information. may have come about through on lawful means but he also uses the phrase public interest and we're fully aware of the power of the drury to apply a healthy dose of common sense and in this case that is the same as public interest and a drawer he will acquit in those circumstances so i think that you need to look at the breadth of what is being alleged and then narrow it down to the particular
example which george gave and then apply public interest and see how that is likely to work out and within a system which is functioning then there should be checks and balances to enable the disclosure of nefarious activities whether that's on the part of business or government or whomsoever and that is the valuable role that the press should be playing and i think still does play ok well in the case of the ongoing hearing in the extradition hearing there's no jury a british judge will decide what they are julian our son just sent into the how the dubious justice system in the united states in the united states of donald trump all right gentlemen i'm going to jump in here we're going to go to wear short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on journalism today state
with our team. after the previous the age of my career was over everyone wondered what i was going to do next the book different clubs on one hand it is logical to assume the form fields. everything is familiar on the other i want of a new challenge and the fresh perspective i'm used to surprising. or not if you think. i'm going to talk about football not for you or else you can think i was going to go. by the way what is that that's like here. i've been saying the numbers mean
something they've mastered us with over one trillion dollars in debt more than ten white collar crime champions this. eighty five percent of global wealth he longs to be ultra rich eight point six percent world market rose thirty percent some with four hundred to five hundred three first or second first second and fifth when rose to twenty thousand dollars. china's building two point one billion dollars a i industrial park but don't let the numbers over the world. the only number you need to remember is one one business shows you know for the mid one and only boom but. even. this has come due diligence to pursue class as i live it here yeah good for yourself then. fine it. need no.
need to. be done. beyond it like. we're sure we have many things in this world sounds this is it enough for everyone and why some people's also take our thing all the power just for themselves and to see more of that in human. well. welcome back to cross talk were all things considered i'm peter lavelle we're discussing journalism.
ok let's go back to john an edinburgh. george and michael were arguing over the public interest in the checks and balances and and michael brought up the issue of a jury but from my understanding if if and when julius onj is finally extradited to the united states i'm not convinced there will be a jury if he's going to be charged with espionage then it's a national security concern of the state and they have would have the right to limit the information available even to julian assange himself and his lawyer essentially would be a judge that would make the final decisions on all of this if you know there could be appeals and all this week will go on for a very long time but i'm not i'm not sure the public interest in a jury is the best way to look at this here because it's we're in we're in new territory here because we tend to look at the fourth estate as being special i think it's the only profession mentioned in the u.s.
constitution by the way because of its importance here and it seems to me i will stay with the contention that yes the fourth estate is being crushed and the chilling effect is obvious to everyone go ahead john in edinburgh. well we have to be very room here terence such as the national interest the national security because it is an ideological issue or at play here who teach what the national interest is and what is the national interests my contention is the national interest is in fact a class interests this interest of the powerful who are not operating the country and don't rule in the interests of the masses of the people julius and will be flown into the void of the u.s. justice system and the the assurances that we've received that he will only seven more five years maybe less these are not worth the paper they're not written or such assurances emanating from the bows of an emperor who screams with shame all the devils in hell some of which julian assange uncovered and in a in conjunction with chelsea manning makes
a sort so this is an ideological component to this issue you just go is absolute right to talk about the need to uncover the strange because george and i share one thing in common which we don't believe that the status quo is operating in the interests of truth of the masses of the people and that foreign policy is going to teach it by concerns of democracy human rights or national security but rather in the interest of imperialism again many and unipolarity so it's a question for you certainly ideological question regarding this issue i don't want to claim on the left but you can also be in the right and understand it steers court is not operating in the interests of the masses of the people julian assange has been has been treated with the forces of hell for daring to raise awareness as to the truth of the system that we live in as to true for the foreign policy in particular the workings of a committee it in the name of democracy and national security and iraq and afghanistan that is your only craney he committee to michael is
a legal expert joining us on his an international figure ok and most people interested in politics obviously have come across his name his personality is very vivid personality and when i thought it quite shocking that it. british judge would call him a narcissist in court but we'll let that pass for the moment here what that has to do with the log mystifies me do you think julian a sonnet can get a free trial a fair trial excuse me do you think he can be and get a fair trial because i mean he has political forces across the spectrum i mean the left the right i mean the republicans the democrats. this is all going to be done in the united states like i presume so he has no friends there and media itself has turned against him how can a man get a free trial a fair trial under those circumstances go ahead. let me go back and correct one thing and that is that mr assad is not as i understand it facing a charge of espionage or not yeah he's right it's no not yet
a fighting art well i don't know i preface no i don't my plan is that they say go ahead charge of conspiracy yes to happen akin to using an unauthorized with through army authorize use of a password the computer system of the department of defense in the united states if the united states wished to extradite him for other charges and then under something called the rule of specialty or the rule of speciality but it's better known as the rule of specialty under the rule of specialty they would have to bring forward those further charges within a period of just over sixty days within this jurisdiction so i think that that needs to be looked at to be put into that correction or that that. needs to be taken in ok michael let me in relation to the law in relation to where
the his trial wardour would not be politicized in the united states the obvious point that i would make as an english lawyer is that ultimately that is a matter within american law not british law but before we get there there will be extradition hearing this probably appeal also maybe appeals up to the supremes court and in the context of the extradition hearing it will be open to mistrust to bring forward full argument in relation to the risk that his trial in the united states would be politicized he would then be able to on the basis. all of that sort of all came and he would be able to build an argument on article six of the european convention on human rights in relation to his right to
a fair trial so there are many things that mr so much can do and i have no doubt will do in the process which will now unfold ok solicitor george i mean i don't mean i think hang on hang on richard. ok but george i mean i have to accept what michael had to say because he's a legal expert and critically on british law i am not ok however george once julian assange is on american soil well i mean it's a whole new ballgame ok it doesn't matter what the extradition agreement was once it's there it's an american jurisdiction and and that's why i prefaced you know the my call is to disagree with me will go back to him but once he once he's there that then it's the american judicial system in the powers that be that will play out ok go ahead george. absolutely they will charge him with father offenses as they please and anyone who imagines that they will not has not been paying
attention to the salivating of the american political class the prospect of what they called their property yes julian our son when he was carried out of the embassy under the you pointed out right across the board from hillary clinton and the democrats all the way to john bolton and the secure a crutch the war cry it's in the trump administration so their idea of delivering a man like a son into the tender mercies of such jaws is outlandish this is a country here britain which gave sanctuary to col marx to got a bogey to people fighting the power and their own country across the world over centuries i cannot imagine the british public opinion will go quietly into that good night is especially when and i return to the us it's manifest that the
only crime alleged against julian our sons is to tell the truth not everything that is true need be said but it can never be a crime to say something that is true you could chime in here yet go ahead jump in john and admiral just quickly this case is politicized from top to bottom judas signage was pretty ecuadorian citizenship by the previous ecuadorian prisoner rafael correa a couple of years ago not pieces he should have been allowed to walk out of the embassy and go to ecuador to take up a citizenship on the basis of diplomatic immunity and we also. wanted to drop the keyset short essential faces occasional innocent but he would urge not to do so by the british authorities. this came too late in the process of our freedom of information requests which of you won't c.p.s. prosecution service e-mails will during which the urge to swedish authorities to
and i will not get caught this is being politicized from top to bottom and on the question of him jumping bail and to take two thousand and twelve so if that is your case in history or someone seeking asylum from from a state of zero and if the conditions of sixty it would be trying to seek asylum from if you did respect your conditions of that state so this case is utterly politicized from top to bottom the allegations. of criminal charges being used to try and achieve political ends that is really not go to the trial ok michael we go back to you in london again the the fourth estate has always played a very special role at least in anglo soccer as action culture or political culture is this is what this whole endeavor against the show and the do you think that it's a precedent to to a chilling effect on potential whistle blowers in the future because again we keep
going back to the public interest and this is what journalists are supposed to do and if there is severe consequences for this people will be less willing to hold power to account i think that this is a very dangerous precedent that we're seeing played out before us go ahead michael in london let me go back first to something that george said and that was in relation to the charges that mr assad may face when he gets to america the extradition process yet has to run its course and yet george is assuming the that is going to fail there's no reason why that assumption should be made at this juncture it is a matter for the courts in this country to consider all of the relevant material and take account and weigh those considerations the second thing i think is. that if mr a song is extradited to the united states whatever the
reaction of american politicians from one end of the spectrum or from another the essential point is the american judiciary and the american judiciary showed x. our size and independence of judgment on this is part of the balance in the fabric between the various states the three main the states and the fourth a state which is the press now you raise the question of whether there is a chilling effect in relation to whistleblowers. the problem that has manifested itself with whistleblowers not being accorded proper protection is something which has been missed and is being worked upon the protection of whistle i have to. hold i have had to jump in here we're running out of time they're working on it it's not going to work through. i suppose your many
thanks to my guests in london and in edinburgh and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember rooms. with manufacture consent to public wealth. when the ruling classes protect them so. when the final merry go round lifts and neither one. nor middle of the room sick.
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ecuador's following the wiki leaks. president uses the whistleblower of turning the ecuadorian embassy where dean for seven years. faces possible extradition to the u.s. where he could be tried on allegations of. conspiring with fellow whistleblower. freedom of speech activists say the charges are now. coming up on the program french may.