Julian Assange may be forced to wear an intrusive ankle bracelet in the UK as he fights extradition to Sweden, but the WikiLeaks founder says he is still determined to run for a seat in Australia’s senate next year.
”We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian senate while detained,” the whistle-blowing organization announced on its Twitter feed. “And Julian has decided to run.”
Assange, who holds Australian citizenship, has been critical of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her center-left government for not defending him after WikiLeaks leaked thousands of classified US embassy cables in 2010.
Although Australian police concluded that Assange didn’t break any actual laws by posting such sensitive information, Gillard condemned the leak as “grossly irresponsible.”
John Wanna, a political scientist at Australian National University, told the Associated Press Assange could theoretically run for a senate seat, even if the WikiLeaks founder had lived overseas for a number of years.
“If he gets on the [electoral] roll, then he can stand as long as he’s solvent and not in jail and not insane,” Wanna said.
In other WikiLeaks related news, Assange recently told Rolling Stone magazine that the Pentagon has demanded the organization “destroy everything we had ever published or were ever going to publish in relation to the US government,” in addition to halting the solicitation of information from government employees.
According to Assange, the Pentagon is attempting to create a new legal precedent that forbids a a journalist from simply asking a source to communicate information.
“Individuals like Sy Hersh and Dana Priest [WaPost] constantly say to their sources, ‘Hey, what about this, have you heard anything about it? I heard there’s been an airstrike in Afghanistan that’s killed a bunch of civilians – do you have any more details?” said Assange. “[Such questions] would be defined as conspiracy to commit espionage under the Pentagon’s interpretation… If the Pentagon is to have its way, it will be the end of national-security journalism in the United States.”
Assange also alleged that there is a “shadow state” operating within the US military which gathers and stores more information than any other society in the world.
“Surveillance is [just] another form of censorship… When people are frightened that what they are saying may be overheard by a power that has the ability to lock people up, then they adjust what they’re saying. They start to self-censor,” he added.