There Is More at Stake in WikiLeaks Showdown Than Assange’s Fate

Will Controversial WikiLeaks Founder Be Tried Under US Espionage Act?

Julian Assange
Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, April 19, 2016. Photo credit: Maina Kiai / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, visits London, reports indicate he is about to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange, exposing the WikiLeaks founder to eventual extradition to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act.

State Department veteran Peter van Buren joins Peter B. Collins for this Radio WhoWhatWhy interview. Acknowledging the imperfections of Assange, van Buren makes the case that Americans, and especially journalists, should support Assange’s right to publish.  

And he warns that if Assange is prosecuted, some reporters may go to jail, and others will likely self-censor to avoid that risk; the result will be more government secrecy, and denial to the public of access to important government information.

Van Buren thumbnails the history of the Pentagon Papers, characterizing the Supreme Court rulings as protection for publishers, but not leakers. He notes that the New York Times, which defied Nixon in publishing Dan Ellsberg’s leaks, has made wide use of WikiLeaks documents but doesn’t advocate strongly for the rights of Assange and his organization.  

The discussion also touches on the current case of Times reporter Ali Watkins, whose emails and phone records were seized by FBI investigators earlier this year.  

Peter van Buren served 24 years at the State Department. His first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (Metropolitan Books, August 21, 2012), covered his one year tour in Iraq working on reconstruction projects. His most recent book is a novel about World War II Japan, Hooper’s War (Luminis Books, Inc., May 1, 2017). You can read his commentary about Assange here.  


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Full Text Transcript:

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Peter B. Collins: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy. In San Francisco, I’m Peter B. Collins. The fate of Julian Assange could shift in the very near future. He’s a controversial figure as the founder of WikiLeaks, an Australian who has been holed up in the Embassy of Ecuador in London for almost six years now.
Peter van Buren joins me today. He is a former State Department officer. He is a triple author. He wrote We Meant Well about his adventures in Iraq spending American dollars on reconstruction, and he’s written two great novels, The Ghost of Tom Joad and Hooper’s War. Peter, thanks for being with me today.
Peter van Buren: Always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
Peter B. Collins: You recently participated in an online kind of vigil or telethon, I guess it could be called, in support of the rights of Julian Assange, and you wrote a really nuanced explanation about it that you published at your blog on July 19th entitled Why I Support Julian Assange and Why You Should, Too, and you freely acknowledge the controversial nature of the individual and the work that he’s done. If you wanted to sum it up in a sentence or two, Peter, what is the basis for your support for Assange?
Peter van Buren: Well, you’ve ready said it for me there, because you said that the vigil was in support of the rights of Julian Assange, and that’s very important to distinguish the difference between the rights, which apply to all of us, and Julian Assange as an individual. What’s likely to happen to Julian Assange, if he does reach the United States and is prosecuted under the Espionage Act, is going to be a damaging blow to freedom of the press in the United States that will reverberate over the next 10 to 20 years, and that is why I support the rights of Julian Assange, aside of whether or not he, as an individual, is a good person or not a good person, but because this transcends him and the freedom of information that he espouses is so important that it transcends the questions of whether Julian Assange and WikiLeaks themselves are something that we should be defending, or supporting, or not.
Peter B. Collins: Let me quote from your post here, Peter. “Assange is challenging to even his staunchest supporters. In 2010, he was a hero to opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others called him the enemy of the state for working with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Now most of Assange’s former supporters see him as an enemy of the state and Putin tool for releasing the Democratic National Committee emails. Even in the face of dismissed charges of sexual assault, Assange is a #MeToo villain. He’s a traitor who hides from justice inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, or a spy, or some web-made Frankenstein with elements of all of the above, and while I’ve never met Assange, I’ve spoken to multiple people who know him well, and the words generous, warm or personable rarely are included in their descriptions, but none of that really matters.”
And, Peter, you’re a great writer. I really feel that you have captured the essence of this controversial figure in just four or five sentences there.
Peter van Buren: The thing is, and I think of the things that’s disturbing about what’s happening with Assange, is how he’s been repurposed in the madness that has followed the election of Donald Trump. Julian Assange was a hero of the left, to the extent that word means something specific anymore. He was a hero of the left. He exposed war crimes in Iraq. He worked very closely with Chelsea Manning, who clearly is a hero for many people for her standing up to the government, and suddenly, when Assange released the DNC emails in the summer of 2016, those same supporters turned on their heel and labeled him a villain, and the hypocrisy of their position reveals the beauty of Assange’s position, which is that he presents information, and that information is agnostic in some sense, in his mind, is agnostic, and it will hurt people and help people, and promote this and not support that as the chips may fall.
But as a journalist, as a publisher, as a person who believes in the freedom of information, his job is to put that information out there, not to prejudge its impact or its value and withhold it if it’s going to have a political effect he doesn’t personally care for.
And so for all those hypocrites who have turned on Assange, I’ll ask them to look into themselves and ask whether they’re turning on Assange, or whether they’re actually frightened of free information, which is what journalism is supposed to be really about.
Peter B. Collins: And, Peter, if I can just summon up a little image here, I imagine when some of the WikiLeaks information arrived at the New York Times, that top editor, Dean Baquet, got out his barbecue tongs and just delicately handled this material, so that it wouldn’t quite infect him or the gray lady. But I use that to illustrate the shift, that the New York Times embraced many of the leaks that came from WikiLeaks, published them, benefited from them, built news stories and narratives on them, and yet, they seem to be very wishy-washy about the very issues that you’re raising about press freedom and about the rights that we enjoy here in the United States to publish information even if it was at one point considered top secret.
Peter van Buren: And, of course, the New York Times is the least entity in the world that should be taking that type of position, because the publishing of classified material in open forum really essentially began with the New York Times in 1971 when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to them. The Pentagon Papers were a secret history of the Vietnam War that was prepared inside the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as an act of contrition, had that history prepared to show that the United States, including McNamara himself, had lied, and lied, and lied to the American people about the war, and he wanted to leave behind a legacy that, in his own vision after his death, was going to show that he actually agonized over all his lies.
Daniel Ellsberg, having slightly more of a conscience than McNamara himself at that time, worked on the papers and brought them to the New York Times, and the New York Times published them. For the first and so far only time in American history, the American government went to court and prohibited the New York Times from publishing additional parts of the papers. That was exactly a perfect example of prior restraint that the First Amendment was written against, that the government could not prohibit journalists from doing their jobs, from being journalists. The New York Times successfully sued the United States. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and despite what you may have seen in that Steven Spielberg candy-coated little version of a movie called The Post, it was actually The New York Times who defeated the government in court and established that prior restraint was indeed something that the First Amendment couldn’t do.
What the New York Times understands, but doesn’t want to talk about, is that their lawsuit and all the subsequent litigation that’s followed, has never established any right to publish classified material. It simply has established that the government cannot exercise prior restraint, cannot force a newspaper, a TV station, or what have you, to withhold information ahead of time. Hidden in those decisions is, in fact, the ability of the government to punish a newspaper, a journalist, after the fact for willfully revealing, the magic word there is transmitting classified information.
So since the Ellsberg case in 1971 with the Pentagon Papers and the New York Times, the US government has established an unofficial policy of throwing the book at the person who leaks the information to a journalist. Daniel Ellsberg, they tried and failed. They were much more successful with Chelsea Manning. They would love to get their hands on Edward Snowden, a lot of whistle-blowers that are less well known perhaps, but equally important, and leaving the journalists alone.
Now the New York Times knows that, and they know that bomb, if you will, a ticking time bomb is out there, and they are playing with fire if they think that the Trump Administration is going to show the same kind of unofficial restraint that they saw from previous administrations.
Peter B. Collins: And, as you point out in your post, the struggle over trying to force James Risen to testify in the trial of CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, ended up as kind of a stalemate, and that was the last time we saw the Times really fight for the rights of a reporter and the right to publish. We now have this curious case that’s unfolding with the young reporter, Ali Watkins, who had only worked for the Times for a brief period, and the questionable activities related to her relationship to James Wolfe, and he’s the suspect, not her. Nevertheless, the Times was rather … How can I put it? They treated it as kind of an arm’s length story when Ali Watkins finally reported to her editors that all of her private information, her communications, email, phone calls, had been seized by the FBI months before, and the circumspect nature of the Times coverage of this incident is really curious to me, Peter.
Peter van Buren: The Risen case, Jim Risen’s case I think is very important to focus on, not the least of which is because Jim Risen now works for the Intercept, and at the Intercept, he’s taken a remarkably different position, point of view, I should say, on these issues, where he is raising questions about whether the Trump government is under the control of Putin and things like that.
But the important thing is that in the Risen case in 2014, he was accused of receiving classified materials from a CIA officer named Jeff Sterling, and the government went out to prosecute Jim Risen, the reporter, for publishing those materials, and they came very close. They subpoenaed him, and they essentially wanted to force him in court to name his source and make their case against Jeff Sterling airtight. Risen refused to do that. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court based on his refusal to testify. The Supreme Court sided with the government and said that Risen could be forced to testify and name his source in open court. At the last minute, Eric Holder saw which way the political winds were blowing. Decided he didn’t want to be the first Attorney General and Barack Obama the first president to force a reporter to out a source under these conditions. They, also, felt that they had a strong enough case against Jeffrey Sterling, and so they satisfied themselves by throwing Jeffrey Sterling in jail and sending Risen off on his own.
But it’s still something that lurks in the background, where Obama and Holder were restrained by political ambitions, by political … The way things looked. Obama was setting up Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency. Eric Holder has his own political ambitions. None of those unofficial restraints seemed to be as applicable in the Trump Administration, as we saw earlier. Now, Ali Watkins is currently in the poster child position, because she published these classified documents.
But where the target is really set is on Julian Assange. Watkins, and Risen, and Glenn Greenwald, and all these other people who have openly published classified materials have a lot of things to hide behind that makes them a less delicious target for the Trump Administration. They’re American citizens, first of all. Second, there’s no questioning whether they’re journalists and have First Amendment rights. They’re American citizens publishing in the United States. They are working for mainstream publications, in the case of the New York Times, an actual still left over from the nineteenth century newspaper. They write actual stories. They don’t simply post material online. And so I think they feel smug with those protections.
Julian Assange has none of those things. He is not an American citizen. He is not in the United States, and therefore, not under its jurisdiction, and has no First Amendment rights. He doesn’t actually publish anywhere per se. He and his work exist in cyberspace, wherever the servers happen to be at any given point in time, and most importantly, Assange has remodeled what a publisher slash journalist is. He has moved from writing complex thought pieces about say the documents Edward Snowden’s brought out of the NSA, and instead said simply, “Here are these documents. I’m going to put them online. I’m going to put some search tools around them, and I’m going to let you,” you being other journalists, you being the public, “do what you want with them.” Essentially he’s becoming an organ of primary sources.
Jim Risen, for example, in his book State of War, got classified information from someone. Jeffrey Sterling, the person who went to jail for it, has maintained all the way through his time in prison and now his release, that he was not the source. But Risen got the information from somewhere. He wrote a book around that information, and he feels that protects him from this.
Assange has taken a step to the side and said, “Don’t trust me about what this material says. Look at it. Here it is. You don’t have to think about whether I’m interpreting it from a different point of view, or if I’ve made a mistake, or whether I’m not smart enough to understand the technical details. No. Here it is. It’s all pink and naked right in front of you. Look at it. Read it. Form your own opinions about it. If you want to use it as primary source material to write an article or something, you’re welcome to that as well.”
And Assange, I think, has shocked publishing and journalism with that model, and he has set himself up as the man with the target on his back. I believe that if he were to show up in the United States, whether he was extradited from Britain or rendered here or whatever, the United States government would prosecute him under the Espionage Act, ignore the question of whether he was a quote, unquote journalist. Simply focus on the part of the Espionage Act that makes it a crime to transmit or possess classified material, and throw him in jail, and through this process, set a new precedent on what can be done to people who work with leaked material, and the next target, they’ll have that precedent to build on, and it won’t be an easy one like Julian Assange. It will be something else. It might be Ali Watkins. It might be Jim Risen. It might be a young journalist that’s working out there right now with classified material about to expose something very significant to the American public about say the finances of the Trump Administration, using documents that may have been leaked out of the IRS, for example.
But under the precedent that will be set if Assange is prosecuted, those journalists could all find themselves in jail. More likely many journalists will simply step back from publishing and simply self-edit themselves to stay out of trouble, rather than be willing to challenge the government by putting something online or in print that could bring them under the Espionage Act, and that’s why Julian Assange is important.
Peter B. Collins: Peter, you just said a lot there.
Peter van Buren: I’m sorry for not taking a break.
Peter B. Collins: No, no, not at all. It’s all worth listening to, and you made a number of excellent points.
Number one, you said that he’s kind of remodeled or revised the definition of a journalist, and I think that’s a really important point. I think he has expanded it to include what is essentially archivist or librarian, where he has created troves, collections of these documents for inspection by others, and I do think that that is a desirable and should be a protected practice. And as you point out, the Supreme Court rulings do not extend the First Amendment to the leaker, and this is an area of law that clearly needs to be better defined and clarified. And I, also, share your warnings about the impact of this and how if Assange is extradited and put on trial under the Espionage Act, he has no way to explain motive, or to bring any other arguments. We just saw that with the plea deal in the Reality Winner case.
This is a very dire moment for freedom of the media, freedom of the press here in the United States, and you pointed out the protections that established journalists have. I do give credit to Glenn Greenwald for using his safe position to advocate for Julian Assange, and in a piece that he published at the Intercept on July 21st, it’s a strong analysis of the situation, but it comes with news that the president of Ecuador, whose name is Lenin Moreno is in London right now. You and I are speaking on the 23rd of July, and the implications are that he is going to meet with British officials to find a way to get Assange out of the Embassy, and it’s very unclear whether President Moreno will honor the recent ruling of the Inter-American Court’s Court for Human Rights in Costa Rica that established that as an asylum seeker, that Assange should have a right to safe passage to Ecuador, the country that under the previous President Correa granted him citizenship. And I believe at one point they tried to extend diplomatic immunity to him.
So it appears that Moreno is easily pressured by the US, by Britain, and by Spain in particular. There is great anger in Spain at Assange’s tweets in support of the rights of Catalonian independence protestors, and that appears to be what triggered the cutoff of his phone and internet access, and he’s apparently in isolation now at that Embassy in London.
So it does appear that we’re reaching a critical stage here, where there could be a very dramatic shift in short order.
Peter van Buren: And that is of great concern, and that’s why we’re focused on this at this moment, because it appears that we’re approaching a Y in the road, if you will, for what happens with Assange.
For people that are not familiar with this process, essentially embassies are not foreign territory, but they are considered protected places under international agreements, and the host country government, in this case the British police, are prohibited from entering the Ecuadorian Embassy under these international treaties, and so essentially it’s a little ball of protection around Julian Assange, as long as the government of Ecuador extends this asylum to him.
Now, this is not unprecedented. In fact, the United States was very willing to extend asylum privileges during the Cold War to opponents of the Soviet government. In Hungary, we had a Hungarian priest living in our Embassy I think for close to six years. We often allow Chinese dissidents to stay in our embassy and protect them from the police state that surrounded them.
So it’s unfortunate that the United States is on the wrong side of history here, and the British are on the wrong side of history here, in saying, “Well, Assange steps over that line and he’s going to be arrested.”
But once again, I keep circling back to the more salient point, which is this is beyond Julian Assange. The side show of what happens to him in London and whether he’s extradited to the United States is really just prelude to some of the more significant things that will happen if he is sent to America and is tried under the Espionage Act, and one morning, in the near future, every journalist in the United States can wake up wondering if he or she takes that call, opens that email, reviews those leaked documents, if he or she is headed to jail in the cell next to Julian Assange for doing what the free press was established by the founders to do.
Peter B. Collins: And it will be fascinating to see how major reporters respond, how major news outlets, including the leading newspapers, treat the story, and what the editorial pages say about the rights that you and I are articulating here today.
Peter van Buren: I think they are failing already to see what is really happening here. I think that they are so focused in the mixed-up world of if someone has accidentally, or on purpose, or in any way assisted Trump, they must be the enemy. I think they have been blinded to the importance of what may happen to Julian Assange, because they blame him in part for Hillary’s defeat, and they consider what he did pro-Trump and pro-Putin, and that has blinded them to the larger importance of what’s going on. And so it’s kind of criminal to see, and I think Glenn Greenwald in his article does an excellent job of calling out the hypocrisy of media who has used WikiLeaks documents to write articles, while at the same time claiming that what Julian Assange did is probably illegal and perfectly prosecutable. They’re going to bite themselves in that soft, sensitive area, and they’re not going to like what they taste.
Peter B. Collins: And Peter, how do you react to Vladimir Putin’s comments in the Helsinki interview that he gave Chris Wallace, where when he was asked about WikiLeaks and hacking of the DNC, he did offer an evasive answer. I don’t want to misstate that or misrepresent that. But he pivoted to say, “Well, you know, what it exposed has been proven to be accurate. Not a single one of the emails released was considered to be a forgery or altered in any way,” and that they spelled out a clear effort to manipulate the election, to meddle in the election. He didn’t name Hillary Clinton, but he referred to the Democratic National Committee’s biased actions toward Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primaries.
And so it was, I think, a rather remarkable and clear statement by a guy who is widely demonized here in the United States.
Peter van Buren: There’s an awful lot that gets lost in these discussions, and I think you’ve hit on something very important, which is we have stopped talking about the contents of those leaked emails, and focused exclusively on the method by which they were leaked, and some speculation on why somebody chose to leak them, and at the same time, that has done a wonderful job, and if you’ve got any conspiracy theorists in the audience, this is a little red meat I’m throwing your way. It’s done a wonderful job of diverting attention from the fact that those emails showed that the Democratic National Committee actively worked to have an unfair primary to ensure that Hillary Clinton would be the candidate regardless of how well Bernie Sanders was doing in the actual primary voting.
And that’s simply been discarded. That has been by acclimation apparently deemed something we’re just not going to talk about, and that has led to things like taking amateur sleuths here, taking the motive and using it as evidence of who must have done this, because since it did help Hillary Clinton, it must have been done by Putin, because Putin doesn’t like Hillary, and so forth and so forth. It just gets off-base very quickly.
But the main point here is that the method of leaking, if you will, has overshadowed the actual contents, and that alone is deeply, deeply troubling. We saw attempts to do that with Edward Snowden. We’re labeling him coincidentally a Russian spy, and a tool of Putin, and all those other things. There’s a pattern here for those who are paying attention. But by labeling Snowden and attempting to demonize him as a person, attention was diverted against the contents of the material that he leaked. Luckily, some journalists at the Intercept and other places have been working with the materials, and continue to do so, and they’ve kept more focused on the contents than has happened with the DNC leaks.
Peter B. Collins: And Peter, you are a member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and you signed onto a number of their statements raising serious questions about this issue of whether the DNC servers were hacked or the victim of some sort of insider leak. I’d like your reaction to the July 13th indictments of 12 Russian GRU officers by the special council’s Office. A lot of people treat the indictment as evidence, and there are references to what appears to be some pretty intriguing evidence that the special council’s investigators have uncovered.
But critically there isn’t even a hint of the most significant aspect, which is how the emails that purportedly were hacked by Russian GRU officers landed at WikiLeaks, and Mueller may have proof of that, but still, it is not in public view. Would you agree?
Peter van Buren: The thing about Veterans, I did not sign that particular letter, not because I disagreed with its premises, which was that the DNC emails were leaked internally, but because I simply realized that I did not have the technical knowledge and skills to say Bill Binney is right and Thomas Drake is wrong, or vice versa. There were a number of people involved in that letter who spent decades at the NSA and at CIA working hands on with this type of stuff, and I was in no position to draw a conclusion about which of them was right and which of them was wrong, and by no means do I imply one was right and one was wrong. I’m all in favor of open inquiry to this.
But the point about-
Peter B. Collins: And thank you for that clarification. I’m sorry I misstated that.
Peter van Buren: No, no. This is very controversial, and a lot of people have maligned the organization. James Risen, for example, has maligned the organization based on other people’s claims that the letter is technically inaccurate, and I don’t think Jim Risen knows enough about this to make those decisions himself.
But the indictment was… I hate to be trite and say pathetic, but I’m going to go with pathetic right now for a lack of a better word. I mean essentially this was not an indictment. It was a press release by Robert Mueller saying what he thinks happened. An indictment is simply the government’s side of something that is never challenged until the case goes to court, and the other side gets a chance to defend themselves. Now, in the case here, where they’ve indicted 12 uniformed Russian military officers, this case is not going to court, and so Mueller was free in that indictment, and knew it, to say absolutely anything he wanted to say, to take any gray areas and make them black and white, because he was throwing out his version of events knowing that no one would ever challenge it, and that he’d never have to produce public evidence in support of it. So automatically you want to be a lot skeptical about everything that was written down in there.
Second, the idea of indicting foreign uniformed military people for crimes in the United States raises some interesting questions. I mean essentially if you were to follow what Mueller has done there, then any country in conflict with the United States could essentially indict anyone they wanted to in the US military, in the NSA, in the CIA for doing what we consider their job. So that’s a little fuzzy, too. I mean Mueller has basically said, “So serving military in Russia without ever leaving Russia violated American law, and need to be in an American court and, hopefully, an American prison.” That’s a little fuzzy.
Lastly, what Mueller has claimed they have done is what … And Rand Paul got into a whole sticky mess with something similar to what I’m about to say, is essentially conducting the type of espionage that the United States conducts on a constant and ongoing basis through the NSA, hacking into computer systems around the world, manipulating, stealing information, and Mueller essentially just reached into a bag full of a year’s worth of that stuff perpetrated against the United States by everybody, by the Russians, by the Chinese, by the Israelis, the Venezuelans, the Cubans, the Latvians, whatever. He just reached in there and pulled out one little piece and said, “I am shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this institution,” by bringing those indictments.
So I’m terribly afraid that I don’t put much credence in it. The fact that the indictments were totally free of supporting information just leaves me wondering as well. I mean the idea of saying we reached out far enough that we can call this guy out by name. I mean some of those people in those indictments were majors in the Soviet GRU. I mean these are not headline people with Wikipedia pages. These are grunts.
And to reach out and say, “Yeah, Major Ivan Avashikov there in desk number three next to the water cooler, he’s the one,” you’re left saying either you’re really that good and you’ve just blown some form of source or method in saying you’re that good, or there’s some air around all that. And I’m going to have to lean towards air, because my own experience working with members of the intelligence community during my own 24 years in the State Department is the absolute, positive last thing they ever want to do is give away any hints of their own capabilities. That just means the bad guys are going to be harder to get to the next time around.
In announcing as publicly as Mueller did that the United States has this ability to reach that deep would have been seen by our adversaries as a clear outing of our technical skills and abilities, and would have, in fact, empowered our adversaries to defend better the next time around. I don’t think Robert Mueller did that. I think that a lot of what we’ve seen in that indictment is based on very limited loose information, suppositions, good guesses, what have you.
But, again, in the format that he chose to present it, this indictment, he knew no one was going to argue with him, and so he could basically set aside those sticky questions about what are facts and what are suppositions in there, and just present it all as a finished product, knowing that a sympathetic media would pick it up, and that the majority of people who were reading it would not bother to even ask these questions, never mind have the skills or the knowledge to look behind them.
Peter B. Collins: Well, Peter, as a former diplomat, you do candid really well. Thank you for your direct and frank remarks. I really appreciate them. I also want to thank you for your thoughtful advocacy for Julian Assange and, in particular, the rights that we are struggling for, to continue to be able to publish and keep the American people informed when we know that our government routinely classifies information that does not need to be kept secret, and that the motivation for many classifications is not to protect our interests. It’s to protect somebody’s career.
Peter van Buren: Absolutely.
Peter B. Collins: So, Peter, thank you for joining me today. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you. I will link to your post about Julian Assange in the show file for this podcast at WhoWhatWhy.org. Peter van Buren, thanks for being with me today.
Peter van Buren: Thank you.
Peter B. Collins: Thanks for listening to this Radio WhoWhatWhy podcast. I’m Peter B. Collins, and I would appreciate your feedback. You can email me, Peter@PeterBCollins.com, and if you’ve got some extra coin, please support the investigative journalism here at WhoWhatWhy.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Lenin Moreno (Agencia de Noticias ANDES / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0) and Julian Assange (Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0).

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