The use of vast global resources against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks presages a dystopian world where anyone who exposes corruption, lies and crimes of power will be branded a terrorist. This Dig, centering on Chris Hedges' interview with Assange in the London embassy where he has found refuge since last June, also includes an interactive timeline of events surrounding the WikiLeaks disclosures, a sidebar of reader resources, sound bites and a partial transcript stemming from the interview, and an illustration by the acclaimed cartoonist Mr. Fish. The interview is a joint project of Truthdig and The Nation.
Chris Hedges, TruthDig
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May 6, 2013 | A tiny tip of the vast subterranean network of governmental and intelligence agencies from around the world dedicated to destroying WikiLeaks and arresting its founder, Julian Assange, appears outside the red-brick building on Hans Crescent Street that houses the Ecuadorean Embassy. Assange, the world’s best-known political refugee, has been in the embassy since he was offered sanctuary there last June. British police in black Kevlar vests are perched night and day on the steps leading up to the building, and others wait in the lobby directly in front of the embassy door. An officer stands on the corner of a side street facing the iconic department store Harrods, half a block away on Brompton Road. Another officer peers out the window of a neighboring building a few feet from Assange’s bedroom at the back of the embassy. Police sit round-the-clock in a communications van topped with an array of antennas that presumably captures all electronic forms of communication from Assange’s ground-floor suite.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), or Scotland Yard, said the estimated cost of surrounding the Ecuadorean Embassy from June 19, 2012, when Assange entered the building, until Jan. 31, 2013, is the equivalent of $4.5 million.