Waleed Aly and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange got into a heated debate on The Project.
Assange said he had no intention of leaving the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, despite his initial claims he would turn himself in if Chelsea Manning was released.
Aly questioned Assange after Manning was granted clemency to see if he had any plans to follow through with his word, and agree to be extradited to the United States.
However, Assange said the only way he would leave London (where he’s been residing for four and a half years) would be after he spoke to the US Department of Justice.
“So when you said you would leave the embassy if Chelsea Manning was granted clemency it sounds like what you really meant is you will leave the embassy if you can come to terms with them about your case — nothing really to do with Chelsea Manning,” Aly questioned.
“I didn't say that, I didn’t say that,” Assange defended. “I said I would accept extradition to the United States.”
“I don’t understand why now it seems contingent on striking some kind of deal with the United States about their case against you, you didn’t mention that before,” Aly said.
“Because I’m not an idiot! I’m not a complete idiot!” Assange said.
“We had a major strategic victory in liberating Chelsea Manning, the most significant alleged whistleblower in the last 10 years, but of course saying I’m willing to accept extradition doesn’t mean I’m saying, ‘I’m willing to be a complete idiot and throw all my lawyers away’. We’re going to have a discussion with the DoJ about what that looks like, the ball is in their court,” he added.