Web Exclusive: Julian Assange on Fighting the International Crackdown on WikiLeaks
In this 40-minute web exclusive interview, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks discusses his more than 300 days in the Ecuadorean embassy, the U.S. Justice Department spying on journalists, the future of WikiLeaks and Visa’s financial blockade on WikiLeaks. [includes rush transcript]
In this 40-minute web exclusive interview, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks discusses his more than 300 days in the Ecuadorean embassy, the U.S. Justice Department spying on journalists, the future of WikiLeaks and Visa’s financial blockade on WikiLeaks.
Watch our recent interview with Assange about the guilty plea of hacktivist Jeremy Hammond, the upcoming "show trial" for accused Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, and his little-known meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Again, Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. On Tuesday, Ecuador’s foreign minister accused the British government of trampling on the human rights of Julian Assange by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador, which granted him political asylum almost a year ago. The foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, told Reuters in an interview, "By not granting him safe passage they are violating the human rights of a citizen, and every day that passes the effects of that violation hurt the person more and more." He says he is preparing a document, a document that Britain is legally obliged to grant you, Julian Assange, permission to leave the embassy and travel to South America. Can you talk about the significance of this, what your plans are, and what the Ecuadorean government is doing to help you come to their country?
JULIAN ASSANGE: The Ecuadorean government has been very supportive, and Foreign Minister Patiño, as well, as you see in relation to his statement. Why are they so supportive? Well, because they spent two months studying my asylum application, which included a lot of evidence, some of which—most of which is public, which you can see if you go to usvwikileaks.org or also look at justice4assange.com, with the numeral 4. The law in this matter is—the morality in this matter is obviously clear. I have not been charged with an offense. The Swedes refuse to provide a guarantee I will not be extradited to the United States. They say hey will put me in prison immediately, without charge, while they bother to conduct what they call their preliminary investigation. They refuse to behave like a normal European state using normal European procedures. The whole matter was even dropped once before in Sweden before the involvement of the politician, Claes Borgström.
So, now let’s go to the law. The international law is also very clear. Both domestically, as it is implemented here in the United Kingdom, it says that asylum procedures dominate other areas of the law, similar with internationally, that the United Kingdom has a relationship with the United Nations and the UNHCR, which is involved in the resettlement program for refugees. It has signed up to those treaties. It is part of the international system for the resettlement of refugees. It is meant to abide by the decisions taken by another state in relation to that program, in this case Ecuador. The law is completely clear. The U.K. government is in violation of international law. Why is it—why is it doing that? Well, it’s mostly a matter of prestige. The U.K. government has admitted, just one week ago, that it has so far spent $5 million in 11 months on the surveillance operation upon me around this embassy. And that is not related to surveilling the embassy for other purposes. That is related, as they admit, to surveilling the embassy in relation to me, $5 million.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, I want to turn to a related matter. You recently made a request under the Data Protection Act for information from Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, in the U.K., which gave you access to instant messages that remained unclassified. And one of the messages from September 2012 read, quote, "They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ. ... It is definitely a fit-up. … Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate." Could you talk about how you made the decision to use the Data Protection Act to get this information and what exactly it is that you found, in addition to this message, and what it means?
JULIAN ASSANGE: The U.K. did not have a Freedom of Information Act at all before 2005. This is a stratisfied society, very secretive in its formal procedures. It has no constitution. However, it did introduce the Freedom of Information Act in 2005. However, there’s a separate act, and which has been gutted, as bureaucracies have learned how to avoid. But there is a separate act, the Data Protection Act, that came in in response to concerns about privacy and what—what credit card companies and so on, what information they were holding on members of the establishment here. So, we used the Data Protection Act on GCHQ, which is the equivalent, the British equivalent, of the National Security Agency.
And much to their horror, they had some chatter in their unclassified networks that they felt that they were forced to reveal in response to that, and that includes discussions about my present situation. It also included calendars from Cabinet looking at—given to GCHQ, looking at when they predicted that various things would happen in my asylum case or extradition case. So, it shows you the very political nature of what is happening here, that these people in GCHQ should be so interested in it.
I’m not alleging that there was some kind of CIA conspiracy, but instantly the Swedish government was involved in publicizing and distributing, in an unlawful manner, according to their own laws, these allegations against me, which they admit that no woman was intending to make. That’s something that happened once the police got hold of them, and that—also that the Pentagon, in its Twitter accounts, immediately started promoting this. Robert Gates, on hearing that I had been arrested, there’s video footage of him saying, with a great big smile, "Well, that sounds like good news to me," and similar sort of statements coming out from other U.S. officials, plus very aggressively. So, this is a matter that was politicized from the word go domestically in Sweden by the politician Claes Borgström just one month before the Swedish election, externally by Gates and by the Pentagon, and statements by the Swedish foreign minister, prime minister and several other different ministers repeatedly.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, I want to turn to the new book by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen called The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business that we were talking about in the first part of this interview. In the book, the authors suggest that you redacted parts of WikiLeaks’ releases only because of monetary concerns. This is an excerpt from the book. They write, quote, "Today, hackers and information criminals publish their ill-gotten gains fairly indiscriminately—the 150,000 Sony customer records released by the hacker group LulzSec in 2011 were simply made downloadable as a file through a peer-to-peer file-sharing service—but in the future, if a centralized platform emerged that offered them WikiLeaks-level security and publicity, it would present a real problem. Redaction," they write, "verification and other precautionary measures taken by WikiLeaks and its media partners would surely not be performed on these unregulated sites (indeed, Assange told us he redacted only to reduce the international pressure that was financially strangling him and said he would have preferred no redactions), a lack of judgment around sensitive materials might well get people killed," they write. They say, "Information criminals would almost certainly traffic in bulk leaks in order to cause maximum disruption." Your response to this excerpt of the new book by the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, first of all, it’s just simply untrue. And we released the full transcript of the meeting. We released the audiotape to go with the transcript. And you can see it is simply false. And the statement is never made. But if we go even beyond that and look to see whether there’s disparate statements in the transcript that could be brought together, intentionally or by mistake, to make such a claim, that is also false. I encourage everyone to have a look at that transcript. You can find it by searching for "Assange Schmidt." Just search for that.
Now, a more interesting question is why is that topic being addressed at all. This is really quite a reactionary way of considering these issues. We don’t have censors sitting there on the postal system monitoring every letter that you send to your grandmother. We don’t have such censors sitting there for email. We don’t have such censors sitting there monitoring to see if you say something bad in a phone call or if you’ve got a box of documents you posted off somewhere. So, the call for—the moral call for that kind of censorship, how would it—how would it actually be done? Well, how it would be done is by mass surveillance. It would be by—you can’t censor something until you’ve seen what it is. So that would be mass surveillance of people’s communications in order to grab and stop the ones that some power group that Google is wanting to ally itself with, it seems, would be offended by.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, you spoke in the first part of our interview about some of the financial restrictions placed on donations to WikiLeaks. Can you explain what you think the future of WikiLeaks is, how the organization has suffered as a result of the constraints that have been placed on financial donations, and some of the ways in which you’re still managing to receive funding?
JULIAN ASSANGE: The initial blockade, which occurred for purely political reasons, by Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union, Diners Club, JCB, Discover, the Bank of America and Swiss Post Finance, that initial blockade was done extrajudicially, extralegally. There’s no law being used. There’s no law being cited. There’s not even an administrative decision that has been cited by, say, the U.S. Treasury. In fact, the U.S. Treasury has found just the opposite, that there is no lawful reason for such a blockade, and has not applied one itself. This is an example of patronage, an example of how this new center, extreme center, of U.S. power is able to influence the organizations in its periphery—namely, financial service companies.
Ninety-five percent of WikiLeaks financing was blockaded. What does that mean? Well, in order to have sovereignty, you must have economic sovereignty. So, for those people in Europe who try and use a Visa card to donate to an organization in Europe, those people in Australia who use a Visa card to try and donate into Australia, and, arguably, you could say certain people in U.S. states who try to donate to WikiLeaks in the United States, their economic sovereignty has been removed from them as a result of this interference by Visa, MasterCard, etc.
Now, in response, we have sued these companies. And in every single court action that has occurred, we have been victorious. And the last one was two weeks ago. Visa has been ordered to reopen the gateway. It has relented, but on midnight June 30, it’s making another attack to close it. And here we have an extraordinary situation, revealed even in internal documentation of Visa, where Visa is processing donations to KKK affiliates, but not processing donations to WikiLeaks.
What does it mean, processing donations? It sounds very abstract. Well, people express their political will to support a political group or a group’s activities, its political activities in the case of WikiLeaks, with their wallet. They vote with their wallet. They express themselves in a First Amendment manner in speech and in association as a result of giving a particular group money. And this has been injuncted, not as a result of a community consensus, as such things should be done, mandated under law, simply as a result of backroom deal making in Washington and elsewhere.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange—
JULIAN ASSANGE: But if we go to—if we go to how have we been able to survive over the past two-and-a-half years of this blockade, well, a 95 percent reduction in revenue, of course, will destroy most businesses, will destroy most families. But WikiLeaks has extensive worldwide support. So, even though we are only receiving 5 percent of that, even though 5 percent—95 percent is blockaded, 5 percent of a very large figure is still not an insignificant—insignificant figure. It’s just enough to proceed as we have been doing so. But, of course, it has denied the organization and its supporters the rightful growth and expansion of WikiLeaks. It means that we can’t proceed our publications as fast as we otherwise would or support our supporters who are in prison or facing trial to the degree that we would like to.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, what do you see the future of WikiLeaks—what could it evolve into? I mean, in terms of the content, what you’re aiming for WikiLeaks to be?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Every law, every constitution, every regulative decision is based upon what people are discussing in their community. It’s based upon our sum knowledge of history and the present. And if—we can see that by taking it to extremes. Let’s imagine that no one is able to communicate with everyone else, that all the books are burnt, so there’s no communication with the past, there’s no communication with each other in the present. As a result, all the civil parts of society, all the better ways of doing things, are forgotten and collapse entirely. All laws, regulations and so on, constitutions, simply disappear. So, the question is—we know that at this extreme there is nothing. People are like rocks or like animals in the dirt. They can’t communicate. They’re all deaf and mute. And we know that we’re currently somewhere here and that the Internet has led to a remarkable period of political education around the world. It is the greatest period of political education that has ever occurred in terms of the most number of people being involved in it. Can we move that across? Can we get that to here? Because if we look at the trajectory, it seems that—that when we have books that are able to be freely published, when the printing press was introduced, when other forms of communications, letters and so on, was introduced, they were not able to be centrally controlled, where people could share information with each other about how the world works. The state of man improved tremendously. So, can we move it even further? And that’s the goal of WikiLeaks. We are the avant-garde of the free press, but we are also, in doing so, the avant-garde of human knowledge.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian, I was wondering if you could talk about how you spend your days. How many days have you been in the embassy right now?
JULIAN ASSANGE: It’s about 337 days.
AMY GOODMAN: And how large is the space that you’re in?
JULIAN ASSANGE: It’s a small flat. I have no complaints about the space or the—or definitely the staff, who are very supportive to me here and who have shown great tolerance to the disruption of their life. They are also under—all under threat of being expelled. Explicit threats are made by the British. At one stage, we had over 30 police surrounding the building in the middle of the night, police coming down on ropes, an explicit threat to enter the embassy unlawfully by the British. So, these are people who have families here, who have children, who have lived in the U.K. for over a dozen years. So, it has been—it has been difficult for them.
The only—the difficulty for me is that the surveillance operation outside, this $5 million—more than $5 million per year spent on this surveillance operation, means, of course, meeting with potential sources is utterly out of the question. It also means that I can’t meet many of the WikiLeaks staff, who would be placed into a vulnerable position. It’s also difficult for me to conduct my activities, difficult for me to run for election in Australia, for example, in such a state. But, you know, journalists love to hear about, desperate to hear about how I’m suffering in this condition. Well, I am not suffering in that sense. I am doing my life’s work. We are winning in this fight. There’s a very clear trajectory over the last year. We are winning in court. We’re winning politically across the world. So, I have my work, if you like, to keep me company, and it’s doing—it’s doing very well.
I mean, we were facing a position where it was borderline as to whether the organization and some of its principal people would be annihilated by the U.S. back reaction to our publications. We understood that at the time. We understood that the organization might be destroyed, as a result. But the publication, especially of U.S. diplomatic cables, was so important historically, so significant. It is the single greatest political treasure that has ever been published, over 3,000 volumes of documentation on how the world works—not how the world worked a hundred years ago, but how the world actually works right now. And it was significant enough that it was worth risking our freedom, but also the ongoing longevity of the organization. But we’ve managed to battle through it. The organization is still continuing. We have published over a million documents in the last 12 months. The number of documents we’ve been publishing is increasing. As time has gone by, the legal position is strengthening, the political position is strengthening. We now have an entire continent of Latin America pretty strongly supporting WikiLeaks at a popular level, but even at a governmental level.
AMY GOODMAN: What indicates to you that you’re winning?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, we are literally winning in the courts in Iceland. Of course, Iceland is an independent—is one of the most independent countries in Europe, that has been behind a lot of our values in the past. The European Parliament passed a resolution against the activities of the credit card companies in relation to us. In Australia, we have had three opinion polls. They show that I have between 26 and 28 percent of the voting intention, Australia-wide. We have 40 percent of the voting intention of people under the age of 30, 36 percent of the voting intention in the most popular state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located. The Kissinger Files, 1.7 million documents that we have just published.
And I detect a certain fear in the United States administration and a certain fear in the Pentagon in relation to making statements about us. The bad old neo-McCarthyist fervor that once existed in 2011 about this organization, where politicians felt that they could propose bills to Congress, where Lieberman and Peter T. King felt they could propose bills to Congress to declare my staff enemy combatants of the United States, who could be kidnapped or killed at will, those days are well and truly gone, where politicians like Biden thought that he could come out and declare that I was a high-tech terrorist, where other politicians and high-profile journalists thought they could come out and directly call for my assassination, as Bill O’Reilly did and other people in Fox and The Washington Times. They came out and nakedly called for my assassination, including an adviser even in Canada to Stephen Harper. Those days are gone. Now, this organization is furious, and we are after redress. And we are getting redress.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, you mentioned how you’re doing in the race for the Senate in Australia. Can you tell us a little about how you’re running a campaign from the Ecuadorean embassy in London?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Let me just contextualize this a bit for American viewers. Australia has long—is the closest state culturally to the United States. It’s much closer culturally to the United States than England. It is twice as young as the United States. It was the first country to give—second country to give women the vote. New Zealand was the first, was the first country. And that’s because it didn’t have the hangover of this existing British class structure. And after World War II, Australia reoriented its strategic relationships from the United Kingdom and towards the United States. And some of that has been good, and a lot of it has been bad. Now, the present Labor government was an infiltration target in the 1970s, the people in the union movement and so on. And that includes people like the foreign minister, Bob Carr, who we exposed as being a U.S. embassy informant back in the 1970s. It includes other people like Mark Gibb, who we knocked off out of the Australian Cabinet. He was the power broker who permitted the current prime minister, Julia Gillard, to get into power, to roll the previous Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, in a political coup d’état backed by mining companies.
So, what happened when WikiLeaks published the U.S. diplomatic cables? There were some previous actions before, but the biggest response by the Australian government was as a result of our publication of the U.S. diplomatic cables. Well, what did the U.S. government do? It declared that there would be a big investigation, that the DOJ would be in charge of it, and it was going to go after us, and so on. The Australian government was even worse. The Australian government, the Australian prime minister publicly declared that what I was doing was illegal. The Australian government publicly declared a whole-of-government investigation, publicly saying it would involve the Defense Department; ASIO, the domestic intelligence service; ASIS, the foreign intelligence service, equivalent to the CIA; the AFP, Australian Federal Police, equivalent to the FBI; and the attorney general’s department. And this whole-of-government investigation would go after me and go after WikiLeaks. The Australian Federal Police found, within three weeks, that I had in fact committed no crime. What did the attorney general and the prime minister also do? They requested that the Australian Federal Police see if I could be charged with treason under Australian law. They also said publicly they would cancel my passport as an Australian citizen, as I was traveling in Europe and trying to be careful about U.S. intelligence agencies surveilling me. And eventually, they said, "We decided not to cancel Mr. Assange’s passport." And why? Because it would be an outrage to cancel a citizen’s passport? No, because, they said publicly, that it was helpful for tracking my movements. And that’s not just rhetoric. We pulled the internal documentation, and it says just that, that the police advice back up to the Australian government was they were finding it helpful for tracking my movements. The Australian intelligence services have been found—and there’s lots of this in The Sydney Morning Herald as a result of FOI procedures—have been found to be sending information back and forth to the United States in relationship to me.
So, the Australian people are very unhappy to see an Australian organization, an Australian export success story like WikiLeaks, being treated like that. They’re also unhappy to see an Australian citizen being treated like that. They don’t want that to happen to their own families or to themselves. But also, they appreciate the values of WikiLeaks. The values of WikiLeaks arose from me and some other Australians who formed this organization. So it is partly a distillation of Australian cultural values, partly a distillation of American cultural values, of medicine and respect for the First Amendment, and understanding that such values are the disciplining force of government. So, I think that’s why you see an eagerness in the Australian population to elect our people from the WikiLeaks Party into Canberra to go in and clean it out. If we manage to stand up to the public pressure of the Pentagon, their public demands that we destroy our publications, then can we stand up to a bit of cronyism and corruption and pressure from property developers for the U.S. embassy in Canberra? Well, of course we can.
AMY GOODMAN: In a major development in the ongoing scandals around the Obama administration spying on journalists, NBC News has revealed that Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a possible co-conspirator in violations of the Espionage Act. The search warrant enabled Justice Department investigators to secretly seize his private emails as part of an investigation into who provided him with classified information about North Korea in 2009. In the government’s application for the warrant, prosecutors allege there was probable cause to believe that Rosen violated the Espionage Act of 1917. In another filing, prosecutors argued they should be allowed to keep the warrant secret from Rosen because they might need to monitor his email account indefinitely. I want to ask you about Rosen and also about the FBI getting the phone records of AP, you know, on 20 phone lines, which meant about a hundred reporters and editors at Associated Press.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, let’s look at this phenomena from two aspects. Don’t be deceived by what appears to be small maneuvers by the Department of Justice to go after AP, to go after Rosen, to go after us, etc. We have over here the bulk surveillance industry run by the National Security Agency that already has all these records. It has them all already. The National Security Agency—and this has come out in one court case after another—was involved in a project called Stellar Wind to collect all the calling records of the United States, every record of everyone calling everyone over years. And the result of that lay out the entire community and political structure, based upon who people are friends with. You can infer that by who calls who, and what the status is by the relative flow of calls around the country, to suck out the entire community structure of the United States. That has already been done. Those calling records already enter into the national security complex.
What we’re talking about here are mechanisms to use that information in a court case, and therefore it has to be clean. This is the dirty team; this is the clean team. And so, these are maneuvers to pull people into court cases that will become public to set a deterrent against national security journalism. And the most pernicious aspect of that is the abuse of the Espionage Act and other mechanisms to try and conflate the activities of a source with the activities of a journalist or a publisher, and to try and say that whenever a journalist deals with a source, they’re in fact engaged in a conspiracy. And if there’s an allegation—of course, allegations can be very easily made, placed on the table, just invented from thin air—that a source’s behavior affects national security and is therefore espionage, and therefore, extend that allegation over to the journalist and to the source—and to the publisher. In the case of Rosen, they have done that in order to get at Rosen’s emails and other records, to then back reflect onto the source or onto other sources. You know, it is simply a disgrace. It is unethical conduct. It is politically worrying conduct. It is chilling conduct. And it is—why is it being done? Because they believe they can get away with it. It is part of advancing the frontier of the national security state to roll on over the First Amendment and every other traditionally accepted U.S. value.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, as we begin to wrap, I’d like to go to a clip from Alex Gibney’s recently released documentary, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks. This clip follows you as you’re about to deliver a press conference on the publication of the Afghan War Logs, a massive trove of documents exposing the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. The clip begins with the voice of Australian journalist Mark Davis.
MARK DAVIS: He woke up late, of course. I’m knocking on the door. "Julian, come on, man." He gets up, does his normal thing, you know.
JULIAN ASSANGE: What’s the time? What’s the time?
MARK DAVIS: Twenty-five to.
JULIAN ASSANGE: I need to prepare a little list of things.
MARK DAVIS: Alright, I’ll be two minutes. How are you feeling?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Tired, haven’t been to sleep, but good. Good. Fourteen pages in The Guardian this morning. "Massive leak of secret files exposes true Afghan war." We tell our sources maximum political impact, and I think we got pretty close.
MARK DAVIS: There’s 10 trucks out there, 10 media trucks.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, yeah. It’ll be a good outcome.
MARK DAVIS: He walked out that door as the sort of aging student hobo. By the time, you know, he had made this 50-yard walk, he was a rock star. He was one of the most famous guys on the planet.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was a clip from We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a recently released documentary by Alex Gibney. That was Australian journalist Mark Davis. Julian Assange, can you talk about that clip, about the film, and whether you were interviewed for the film, and if not, why?
JULIAN ASSANGE: WikiLeaks, as an organization, did not cooperate with the film at all. We cooperated instead with an upcoming film by Laura Poitras and another one that is being co-produced by Ken Loach’s Sixteen Films. Alex Gibney apparently is very unhappy with that, and it seems to have affected his objectivity and sense of perspective in a result—as a result of it.
Talk about that clip—that was the moment of the Afghan War Logs. There’s a—you know, a desire there to make, as there is in many—much news reportage or documentaries, to make the subject of the film the only thing, like there was nothing important that happened before. That’s—it’s not true. We can see silly statements. Just seeing just now, for example, we have Mark Davis, a reasonably decent Australian journalist, saying that I woke up late, but actually, if you look at the clip, it has me saying that I’d been awake all night working, and that’s clearly true.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Julian Assange, you mentioned two other films coming up by Ken Loach and Laura Poitras. Could you say, are those documentaries? Are they feature films?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Thos are feature documentaries.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And there is another film releasing on WikiLeaks called The Fifth Estate. I believe it’s coming out in the fall or in November. Do you know anything about that?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes, although the most recent thing that I’ve seen about that says it’s coming out in October. That is a pretty nasty feature documentary—sorry, a feature film by DreamWorks, Spielberg’s outfit. It is based upon the two most hostile anti-WikiLeaks books that have ever been made. And it opens with a scene in Iran, in a nuclear complex in Iran, which has a—what the film describes as a U.S. informant in there informing on the Iranian nuclear program. They have the Iranians 15 minutes away from an atomic weapon. The Iranians, in that, are loading the atomic weapon into a Shahab-3 missile. And according to this piece of fiction, WikiLeaks publications exposes this Iranian U.S. intelligence source, and that’s why—that’s why the U.S. administration is not able to say that Iran is really 15 minutes away from an atomic weapon. That also brackets the film at the end. That source is—flees. The Iranians find out as a result of our publications, and he flees. So you can see what the setup is. I mean, it’s pretty nasty. But apparently, demonizing Iran and, I guess, WikiLeaks is how you win an Academy Award these days. It should be presented, of course, by none other than Michelle Obama.
AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, Alex Gibney said, quote, "Finally, we had a six-hour meeting." He’s talking about you. He says, "He told me the market rate for an interview was a million dollars. I told him I don’t pay for interviews," said Alex Gibney. And he went on to say that you said, "That’s too bad. In that case, you might do something else for me." And Gibney said, "He wanted me to spy on our other interview subjects, which I found a rather odd request from someone concerned about source protection." Is that true?
JULIAN ASSANGE: No. I don’t see why, Amy, you need to repeat the embarrassing talking points by a documentary filmmaker who makes a film about WikiLeaks without anyone from WikiLeaks in it. Of course, Alex is trying to cover from that critical, critical flaw. But we have released the entire transcript, including a description of that conversation. We have that conversation on tape, unlike Alex Gibney. And you can go to wikileaks.org/gibney-transcript.html to read all about it. This is a case of a reasonably sleazy U.S. documentary filmmaker coming up against scientific journalism, and you know he’s not liking the results. I mean, you can see by his comments. We published the whole transcript. We analyzed the whole thing. We record interviews. We show every sleight of hand in the editing that has been conducted. It’s interesting to speculate, if we move beyond the personal and back to the political, why it is that that is done. Well, in a way, thematically, it used these tricks in order to increase the dramatic tension, the character tension, and so on. But it’s clear that Gibney also has a bit of a personal vendetta that we went with—we decided not to go with him, and we went instead with Laura Poitras.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Julian Assange, where do you see yourself in a year?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, a year is quite interesting. In a few months, obviously, I’ll probably still be here. But a year, quite possibly in Ecuador, quite possibly in Australia. The Australian election is September 14. It’s just 106 days away. That will be very significant. It’s not legally significant, but politically it’s very significant as an expression of the will of the Australian people, more broadly. This is a political situation. This is a politicization of various legal situations, and it has to be dealt with politically.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you for spending this time, as you stand there for the last, well, two hours in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where you have been for more than 10 months. Again, the British government says they will arrest Julian Assange if he dares to step foot outside and extradite him to Sweden. The question in Sweden, if he would be immediately put in prison, and would he be extradited to the United States? But we will leave it there. Julian Assange, thanks for joining us.
Recent Shows More
The Anti-Apartheid Underground: Ronnie Kasrils on Meeting Nelson Mandela in an ANC Safe House in 1962
By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan
Nelson Mandela is rightly remembered for his remarkable ability to reconcile with his oppressors, and the political prescription his forgiveness entailed for the new South Africa. Mandela has passed, but what he has passed on to succeeding generations is his deep belief in the power of movements to make change.
Show for Dec 13, 2013
Watch a video of immigrant rights activists arrested outside a detention center in New Jersey today, and hear a phone call from a young DREAMer who infiltrated a detention center in Texas.