Yes voters ‘right to suspect MI5 of spying on them’

Julian Assange addresses lawyers and judges via video link at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow. Picture: Hemedia
Julian Assange addresses lawyers and judges via video link at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow. Picture: Hemedia
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WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange believes SNP supporters were not being “paranoid” that their communications were being spied on during the independence referendum.

Speaking via videolink at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, Mr Assange said the “full capacities” of the British intelligence services were deployed during in the run-up to last year’s vote.

“Scottish nationalists were correct to be very concerned about [intelligence services spying on them]”

Julian Assange

The Australian is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.

During a session on the role of the intelligence services and their monitoring of confidential lawyer-client communications, Mr Assange told the conference that “everyone is being surveilled at all times”.

He said: “There’s really not a situation any more of people being on selected target lists, although there are such lists for extra extensive surveillance, but rather that everyone is being surveilled at all times.

“Whether it’s social or economic interactions, these are all swept up in this great vacuuming...”

“Every communication that occurs through US servers has been intercepted. Every communication, just about, that passes through Britain...is being intercepted.”

Asked whether nationalists were being “paranoid” about being spied on last year, he said: “No, they weren’t at all paranoid. Scottish nationalists were correct to be very concerned about that issue.”

He cited the public support of US President Barack Obama and former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt for the Union as evidence that the British government was attempting to influence the result of the referendum.

He also urged lawyers to begin encrypting confidential communications after it emerged last year that UK intelligence agencies had eavesdropped on exchanges with clients which should have been covered by legal professional privilege.

“We (Wikileaks) have a lot of lawyers and we’ve had to drag them kicking and screaming to protect their communications with us.”

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