Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From the Net: Interview with Julian Assange at Rolling Stone

Julian Assange: The Rolling Stone Interview

Under house arrest in England, the WikiLeaks founder opens up about his battle with the 'Times,' his stint in solitary and the future of journalism

(...) Assange recently spoke to someone he calls a Western "intelligence source," and he asked the official about his fate. Will he ever be a free man again, allowed to return to his native Australia, to come and go as he pleases? "He told me I was fucked," Assange says.

"Are you fucked?" I ask.

Assange pauses and looks out the window. The house is surrounded by rolling fields and quiet woods, but they offer him little in the way of escape. The British Supreme Court will hear his extradition appeal on February 1st – but even if he wins, he will likely still remain a wanted man. Interpol has issued a so-called "red notice" for his arrest on behalf of Swedish authorities for questioning in "connection with a number of sexual offenses" – Qaddafi, accused of war crimes, earned only an "orange notice" – and the U.S. government has branded him a "high-tech terrorist," unleashing a massive and unprecedented investigation designed to depict Assange's journalism as a form of international espionage. (...)


They're trying to interpret the Espionage Act to say that any two-way communication with a source is a collaboration with a source, and is therefore a conspiracy to commit espionage where classified information is involved. The Pentagon, in fact, issued a public demand to us that we not only destroy everything we had ever published or were ever going to publish in relation to the U.S. government, but that we also stop "soliciting" information from U.S. government employees. The Espionage Act itself does not mention solicitation, but they're trying to create a new legal precedent that includes a journalist simply asking a source to communicate information.


The creation of WikiLeaks was, in part, a response to Iraq. There were a number of whistle-blowers who came out in relation to Iraq, and it was clear to me that what the world was missing in the days of Iraq propaganda was a way for inside sources who knew what was really going on to communicate that information to the public. Quite a few who did ended up in very dire circumstances, including David Kelly, the British scientist who either committed suicide or was murdered over his revelations about weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq War was the biggest issue for people of my generation in the West. It was also the clearest case, in my living memory, of media manipulation and the creation of a war through ignorance.


... full interview at Rolling Stone.

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