tv Cross Talk RT April 18, 2019 12:00am-12:31am EDT
supporters of julian assange clashed with police and capital after the arrest of the wiki leaks founder and london president accuses the songs of turning to ecuador and embassy where he spent seven years into a. space as possible extradition to the u.s. where he could be tried on allegations of hacking and conspiring with whistleblower chelsea manning freedom of speech activists say the charges on the attack on journalists. french made weapons may have been used against civilians in yemen according to leaks reportedly from french intelligence. and climate change protesters blocked train services in london after hundreds are arrested for
attacking the headquarters of the oil giant show. the latest on the stories you can head to our t.v. dot com my colleague will be here in about an hour's time with a look for news cross talk is next discussing the arrest of wiki leaks founder julian stephens. hello and welcome to cross talk where all things were considered. to 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 report on the various activities of those in power now it is being criminalized free speech is now the privileged few.
cross like in 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 patchett joyce he is a barrister with a place chambers specializing in european international law joining cross-like 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 on your 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 com 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 the week supposedly to fight fake news but actually to enshrine fake news and along with ineluctably you might 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 journalists they don't call weekly 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's a 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 it's caught by reporting fake news all the time so it's being criminalized saying the truth it one could draw that conclusion go ahead john. well the operative word in your statement here peter is crepes crane's 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 cranes 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 perfect 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 we 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 the 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 she 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 grim prison 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 stall in 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 saw 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 have been cleared in the courts of the united states in twenty nineteen not least because the supreme court. 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 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 jury 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 the 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 going.
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. what is do before we came here where you were before you came here what if you lived. death row in many. us state's capital punishment is still practiced convicted prisoners can spend years waiting for execution but most of the time the
victims' families they are very much in favor of the death penalty there are some people because of what they do have given up the right to live among us some even proven innocent years on death row and how many more exonerations is it going to take before we as a society realize that this is not working and we actually do something about. you know we talk from time to time about the casino good luck. the trend in technology and government to enslave global population behind devices and to be consigned to life for clicking on ads for scooby snacks and the second you stop clicking on those ads you die and you get to live from going off the grid and. just pay so send to the chrome to carry.
it. welcome back to crosstalk were all things considered i'm peter lavelle we're discussing journalism. ok let's go back to john in 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 he joined us on his 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 would have the right to limit. 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 of this will go 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 terrence such as a national interest on national security because it is an ideological issue or at play here cuckoo dictates what the national interest is and what is the national interests my contention is the national interest is in fact a class interest this interest of the powerful 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 assurances that we've received that he will only several 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 which 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 this is who is operating in the interests of truth of the masses of the people and the foreign policy it's been defeated by concerns of democracy human rights or national security but rather in the interests of imperialism again many and unipolarity so it's a question of it 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's 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 and julian assange has 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 song which is not as i understand it facing a charge of espionage or not yeah he's right it's no not yet a fighting well i don't know i preface no i don't my plan is that they say go ahead charge of conspiracy yes to have break into 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 auggie him 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 soames 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. 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 disagree with me we'll 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 as 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 songe into the tender mercies of such jaws is outlandish this is
a country here britain which gave sanctuary to col marx to got a bowl did to people fighting the power in their own country across the world over centuries i cannot imagine the british public opinion will go quietly into that good night is specially when and i return to this 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 an admiral just quickly this case is politicized from top to bottom judas signage was granted 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 call to ecuador to take up a citizenship on the basis of diplomatic immunity and we also. want you to drop the piece of sexual sexual faces against you understand but he would urge you not to do so by the british authorities. this came too late in the process of our freedom of information requests which of you want c.p.s. prosecution service emails when 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 sort of that is ne in history of someone seeking asylum for him from a state of zero when did the conditions offset 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 anything from a criminal charges being used to try and achieve political ends that is really not
go to the trial ok michael mccaul 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 whistleblowers 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 assad regime 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 access 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 ok 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. i suppose here 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 rules. of international memorial awards twenty nineteen are now open for entries the media
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