Julian Assange says nationalists not paranoid to suspect UK intelligence service involvement in referendum
The founder of Wikileaks has said Scottish nationalists were not paranoid to think the UK security services were involved in last year’s independence referendum.
Julian Assange (pictured), speaking at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow said the referendum amounted to a “national security threat” to the UK and that it would be reason enough to deploy the “full capacities” of the UK’s surveillance network.
Some nationalist, including Jim Sillars, former SNP deputy leader, have warned that the UK intelligence services watched them.
Mr Assange addressed the 400 attendees from the Ecuaorian Embassy in London where he lives.
After he was asked by The Herald if nationalists were being paranoid about intelligence service involvement in the referendum, he said: “No, they are not at all paranoid.”
He added: “They are correct for a number of reasons.
“The attitude of the UK government is that this is a national security issue, that Scottish independence is, in effect, a threat to the state.
“This mean that the full capacities of the GCHQ, for example, could be deployed.”
Mr Assange also referred to the Treasury’s partisan position during the referendum that it was not an ordinary political situation.
MPs found last month that civil servants both in the Treasury and atHolyrood “compromised their impartiality” over the course of the referendum.
However, Mr Assange said it would not have been easy for GCHQ to spy on nationalists.
He said: “There are many Scots employed in these agencies. So care has to be undertaken because Scots in those agencies may well reveal what is being done.
“As they did reveal that information from the FCO going out across the world to lobby other states to influence the result.”
Mr Assange’s lecture focused on how lawyers protected their confidential communications with clients in the wake of the Snowden revelations.
Swedish authorities seek Mr Assange’s extradition on sexual offence allegations.
He is also wanted by US authorities after Wikileaks began in 2007 publishing huge amounts of confidential information on the US and other countries, including their military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq.