Bill Maher interviewed Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks on his "Real Time with Bill Maher" show on HBO. President Barack Obama's "kill list" was one of the major subjects brought up in the interview.
In Assange's first interview on a major US TV channel, he lashed out against President Obama and his administration. He criticized the fact that the Obama administration has given the go-ahead to eliminate American citizens abroad using military Unmanned Automatic Vehicles (UAVs), or drones as they are more commonly known.
NBC News revealed this week an unclassified document from the US Justice Department, which exposed that US authorities consider the elimination of senior Al-Qaeda members lawful and ethical, even if they are American citizens and plotting no crime.
The Obama administration promised to provide American lawmakers with access to classified documents giving the legal basis for such drone strikes.
Assange says in the interview, “I cannot see a greater collapse when the [American] executive can kill its own citizens arbitrarily, at will, in secret, without any of the decision-making becoming public.”
“That's why we need organizations like WikiLeaks. I encourage anyone in the White House who has access to those rules and procedures, work them on over to us. We'll keep you secret and reveal [the drone killing rules] to the public,” Assange promised.
Towards the end of the interview, Bill Maher caused laughter when he said that Assange must keep safe, as he would hate to have to send in Ben Affleck to rescue him, like in Iran.
Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been since June 2012. While asylum has been granted to him by Ecuador, the UK refuses to give him safe passage to leave the country, as they are bound to extradite him for questioning in Sweden on sex crime allegations, which Assange continues to deny.
The fear is that should he be extradited to Sweden, the next step would be to send him on to the US, where he has been declared an enemy of state after publishing hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic and military memos on the WikiLeaks website which both anger and embarrass the US Government.
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is interviewed by Bill Maher