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16 Apr, 2015 05:04

‘Not paranoid’: Scottish independence threat forced full deployment of UK security apparatus – Assange

‘Not paranoid’: Scottish independence threat forced full deployment of UK security apparatus – Assange

As Scots headed to polls in a bid for independence from Britain, the SNP had every right to be paranoid that they were all monitored by UK intelligence services, as the referendum constituted a “national security threat” to the UK, says Julian Assange.

The founder of WikiLeaks, speaking via video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to a crowd of some 400 lawyers in Glasgow, was quick to confirm earlier voiced fears of the Scottish National Party members who claimed that MI5 had been playing “dirty tricks” in sabotaging the pro-independence campaign in 2014.

“They are correct for a number of reasons,” Assange told the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow. “The attitude of the UK government is that this is a national security issue, that Scottish independence is, in effect, a threat to the state.”

Perception of such a threat, according to Assange, meant a green light for the security apparatus to do anything in their reach to influence the vote, meaning “that the full capacities of the GCHQ, for example, could be deployed.”

Such an operation, Assange says, would still be challenging, as an overwhelming amount of Scots who work for the UK’s security agencies would leak details of such efforts, just as Foreign Office’s campaign to preserve the image of UK unity had been leaked.

“There are many Scots employed in these agencies. So care has to be undertaken because Scots in those agencies may well reveal what is being done,” said Assange. “As they did reveal that information from the FCO going out across the world to lobby other states to influence the result.”

Last September Scotland held a referendum on its independence from the United Kingdom. The idea of independence was rejected by just over 55 percent of the Scottish electorate.