Is Julian Assange's Asylum Claim Legit? Point-Counterpoint With Glenn Greenwald

Assange remains at the center of an international standoff.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 19, having been granted political asylum by Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa. Sweden wants Assange to answer charges of sexual assault. Assange says that his extradition to Sweden would put him in danger of being brought to the United States where he might face prosecution under the espionage act.

It's unusual that Assange was granted asylum, given that the U.S. hasn't attempted to extradite him. Correa faces an upcoming election campaign, and has faced criticism for limiting Ecuadorian press freedoms, and many see the move as a way of pushing back on his domestic critics. The British reject the legitimacy of Assange's claim, and have refused to grant him safe passage out of the country. What has become an international standoff continues.

I see this as a matter of Occam's razor, with Assange doing whatever he can to avoid facing the Swedish charges. The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald disagrees, saying that Assange has a “rational” fear of persecution at the hands of the U.S. government. Greenwald recently appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the situation. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the segment (you can listen to the whole show here).

Read on...

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