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An attorney's work does not get more complex or high-profile than this: His client, Julian Assange, set up a whistle-blowing web site called WikiLeaks, obtained thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and video of war crimes, and disseminated them to the public.
The U.S. Army has thrown fellow whistle-blower Bradley Manning into solitary confinement and attorney Michael Ratner fears the U.S. State Dept. wants to grab Assange as well. After escapes worthy of a spy novel, Assange found asylum in London, at the Ecuadoran embassy.
In this 35-minute interview, host Daniel Kerbein talks to Michael Ratner, defense attorney for Julian Assange and the Guantanamo prisoners.
It has been a dangerous time for Assange, who actually sought asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on another matter. Although no charges have been filed, two women there have accused Assange of rape. Hence the fear of an extradition to the U.S., since Sweden has not promised to prevent the U.S. from nabbing him over the Wikileaks matter. Ratner - along with the president of Ecuador - is certain that the ultimate motive behind the extraditions is to punish Assange for whistle blowing.
Mr. Ratner has been outspoken in defending the rights of Assange, and the media that have used Wikileaks information to cast light on U.S. foreign intrigues. He appears often on Democracy Now!, and hosts the weekly program "Law and Disorder" on Pacifica station WBAI in New York.
Mr. Ratner works through the Center for Constitutional Rights, defending detainees in Guantanamo, appealing for the rights of people who have endured years of torture without any criminal charges.
He has also, for decades, taken a lead in appealing to the US Government to lift its embargo on Cuba, and recently wrote a book exploring who killed Che Guevara..
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It's good to talk.