Assange court case and Venezuelan coup (E278)
The extradition process designed to deliver Julian Assange to the US justice system has begun. Helpfully incarcerated for 50 weeks, Assange is now at the mercy of a British judge. There are signs that some of the Fourth Estate are becoming twitchy as they realise the broader implications of prosecuting publishers of material taken from its owners by people unauthorised to supply it – after all, the Daily Telegraph’s epic achievement of unmasking the scandal of MPs’ expenses was only possible because the material had been stolen in the first place. So, who better to discuss this than famous whistleblower Annie Machon – though she’s always careful, unlike the British defence secretary, of breaking the Official Secrets Act.
The Americans just don’t do coups like they used to. Once upon a time, President Nicolas Maduro would already be dead like President Allende in Chile, or behind bars like President Noriega in Panama. The dawn chorus of the pretender to the presidency of Venezuela was stilled before sunset on the same day; it’s real leader Lopez already holed up in a foreign embassy seeking, ironically, political asylum. But it isn’t over until the fat lady sings, and Mike Pompeo is still clearing his throat for another crescendo. So, to discuss this week’s extraordinary events, we invited Jonathan Steele into the Sputnik studio. He is a man who met and interviewed Hugo Chavez and many others in his long and distinguished career as former foreign correspondent for the Guardian.