The Committee to Defend Julian Assange has organised two well attended pickets outside The Guardian’s offices in October and December 2020 to protest about the The Guardian’s role in the polemic against Julian Assange and in particular demanding Luke Harding’s fake story about Paul Manafort visiting at the Embassy be taken down.
In this video below Tetiana Popova questions him about The Guardian picket:
Here is the Transcript:
TP: Luke, last December the Guardian, the newspaper you’re working for, has been picketed by those dissatisfied with your publications. Who are these people and how reasonable their demands are? Is it common to picket major media outlets in Britain?
LH: Well, coming next defense. I have to admit I don’t know anything about this – I mean the Guardian building has been empty since the start of the pandemic in March almost a year ago, and we’re all working from home, so it’s possible people were picketing. But if so, I don’t know who they were or what they wanted. And you know it’s a free country – if people don’t like what we publish, of course, they can protest. But I haven’t seen any kind of major demonstrations that I can remember outside the Guardian. And of course, if people are unhappy they can write a letter, they can write an opinion piece. I mean I think that comment is free and facts are sacred – that’s the kind of Guardian’s motto, and we try in our paper and our website to reflect a very broad spectrum of opinion, and I think we do that pretty well.
TP: Those picketers accused you of stating some untrue facts in an article you wrote in 2018: they say Julian Assange did not meet Manafort at the Ecuador Embassy. What can you say about this?
LH: We included Assange’s denial at the time that we published the article. He has a lot of passionate supporters in this country and what you have to remember and bear in mind is that the Guardian has absolutely opposed his extradition to the United States. I mean now actually it’s clear that he’s not going to be extradited. He’s still in jail, he’s still in custody, and yeah we collaborated with Assange in 2010. But Adam Rusbridger, my former editor-in-chief of the Guardian has also written very well and very influentially, saying that what Wikileaks did together with many media analysts in 2010, what was journalism, and if you prosecute him you have to prosecute all of us. So I mean I think actually the Guardian’s support for Assange and his core battle has been very clear.
TP: How exactly may the UK top court’s decision to block the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the USA affect the US-UK relations?
LH: We have to wait and see – I mean it’s the legal process isn’t over yet. It’s not clear what will happen. I suspect – I mean I don’t know but I suspect the Biden administration will have other priorities going forward. Joe Biden has a huge entry – the pandemic to start with. Then a whole host of international issues, from Iran, from climate change to Russia, to what you do about Vladimir Putin who keeps on hacking American, or his spies keep on hacking American federal government agencies. So I think Assange is down the list. And also the great irony of this is that Hillary Clinton actually in the Obama administration – they didn’t do anything against Assange when they were in power, so I suspect that the case may quietly go away rather than being pursued by the new Biden administration.
We shall be back at The Guardian as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted and the government allow once again political outdoor gatherings.
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