War on secrecy will be won by whistleblowers, but they’ll have to sacrifice
Kristinn Hrafnsson: This is a war on secrecy that we have seen escalate in recent years, it is a war for transparency, it is a war for government accountability. It will be won of course with more information coming out to the general public, information from important people important sources like Edward Snowden, like Bradley Manning. It is amazing that we’re seeing this development escalating year by year. I’m certain that is a war that it will won. It is a war for their people and for their rights.
RT:A war that could be won sacrificing the likes of Assange, Manning and Snowden, because nobody knows what fate they now face…
KH: In all wars there is sacrifice. Let’s all hope that Assange will be released shortly and will be able to go freely. The same would apply to Edward Snowden. It is a dark day for Bradley Manning who we could see in prison for more than 100 years. But that does not change the fact that we should fight for him and all other whistleblowers’ right to disclose to the public information about the wrongdoings.
RT:It took five weeks for Snowden to leave Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. He is now entering a very uncertain future. It does not sound or look that everything is going his way and indeed, can it now be seen as a victory for WikiLeaks and what has happened to him?
KH: This is a part victory. It is good that he is now being able to move freely about in Russia. He had of course had offers of permanent asylum in Latin American countries and he has indicated that he wants to get there. That is not that easy. We have seen the unprecedented, ridiculous steps by the US government of getting their allies in Europe to close their airspace for the jet of Evo Morales over suspicions that Snowden was onboard. So, it is obvious that the US government is ready to go to great length to apprehend them. But there’re ways and means, so let’s see what happens.
RT:Is the plan, now that Snowden got his paperwork that WikiLeaks will help him now to get to his eventual destination? He will be leaving Moscow; he will be going to a Latin American country?
KH: He did indicate in a statement a few weeks ago that he wanted to go to a place where he would get permanent asylum. We would of course continue to assist him in his full right as a recognized political refuge to seek asylum and get asylum in any way possible.
RT:But he has accepted his asylum here in Moscow under condition that he won’t release any more leaks damaging the US. So in effect, has he not just given up and stopped his whistleblowing mission. Has he not been beaten into defeat?
KH: That is a bit speculative. I can only refer to what the journalists that have been working with Edward Snowden have said that he was sending information that would produce stories for the months to come and indeed only today and yesterday we saw very important stories based on information from Edward Snowden coming out in the Guardian.
RT:Will WikiLeaks take the Guardian journalist under his wing if he gets into trouble, perhaps sides will be now focusing on Glenn Greenwald?
KH: We will support any journalist source and whistleblower that gets into trouble for revealing the truth about the wrongdoing that is what we are here to do, even though we are of course first and foremost a publishing organization.
RT:And the fact that there has been such a strong reaction from Washington and even the European countries who are upset that they have been surveyed by the US, they have in fact turned their backs on Snowden. So what does it send as a message to future whistleblowers? Will it discourage them rather than encourage them?
KH: This is amazing that even though we have the example of the treatment of Bradley Manning, a brave and courageous man like Edward Snowden, he did step forth, he did blow the whistle on absurd overreach and the attack on privacy by the US government. So courage is contagious and there’re many people up there who are willing to take risk to get the truth to the people as it should be. And I believe that the government should start listening to its people. I’m sure that in the majority of European countries, there is an overwhelming support for Eduard Snowden even though their governments don’t show him that support. Even a recent US survey showed that 55 percent of Americans see Edward Snowden as a legitimate whistleblower , a hero. That information should somehow reach Washington and they should change their position there and actually do what Obama did promise prior to 2008 when he was elected on a platform promising to support whistleblowers and said that they should be encouraged not stifled.