It should not come as a surprise that Jesselyn Radack, a human rights advocate, whistleblower group member and lawyer to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was detained and interrogated when she arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport. Firedoglake’s KEvin Gosztola spoke with Ms. Radack after the incident which she described as “very hostile.”
As Radack recalled, she was asked why she was here. “To see friends,” she answered. “Who will you be seeing?” She answered, “A group called Sam Adams Associates.”
The agent wanted to know who was in the group. “Ray McGovern, Annie Machon, Thomas Drake, Craig Murray,” she answered. She said she is part of the group as well.
“Where will you meet?” Radack answered, “At the Ecuadorian Embassy.” Then, the agent asked, “With Julian Assange?” Radack said yes.
The interrogation continued, “Why have you gone to Russia twice in three months?” Radack said she had a client in the country. “Who?” She answered, “Edward Snowden.”
“Who is Edward Snowden?” asked the agent. Radack said he is a whistleblower and an asylee. Then, the agent asked, “Who is Bradley Manning?” To this, she answered, “A whistleblower.”
For whatever reason, the agent asked, “Where is he?” “In jail,” Radack told the agent. (Now, she is known as Chelsea Manning.)
The agent said, “So he’s a criminal?” Radack corrected the agent, “He’s a political prisoner.” The agent asked if she represented Manning and she said no. Then he followed up, “But you represent Snowden?” She replied, “Yes, I’m a human rights lawyer.”
NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was traveling with her, witnessed the questioning, said the border agent had a “threatening demeanor.” Ms. Raddack was informed by the agent that she has been placed on US Department of Homeland Security “inhibited persons list” which was created in March of 2012 as an effort to impose US laws on the rest of the world. The United Kingdom agreed to the new rules to provide information to the DHS even if the passenger of all nationalities, is not traveling to the US.
Ms. Radack told RT News about the humiliating ordeal and her concerns:
“Clearly any kind of line of questioning into the details of my work and specific clients is beyond the ambit of what any normal customs official would ask,” Radack told RT.
“I feel like lawyers and journalists are now beginning to be targeted at the borders of countries in the Western Hemisphere, in so-called democratic countries.It’s a threat to press freedoms when journalists are questioned. And it’s a threat to the integrity of the judicial system when attorney who are working on someone’s case are being harassed or intimidated on the basis of who they represent.” [..]
Following the ordeal at Heathrow, Radack came out with a public statement denouncing the whole practice and the harassment it often entails: “The government, whether in the US, UK or elsewhere does not have the authority to monitor, harass or intimidate lawyers for representing unpopular clients.” [..]
Radack once told RT that despite the fact that “it’s a dangerous time for whistleblowers in the US,” Snowden’s revelations have had a big effect as “courage is contagious.” She added that “I really think [Snowden] has had a wonderful effect [on] the US and the world.”
Ms. Radack spoke with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman from London.
Transcript can be read here
The US and the UK have evolved into fascist states something thath they fought against in 1940.