Full interview with Julian Assange on Democracy Now!, including a debate with investigative journalist Allan Nairn.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I’m Juan González. Welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world.
Today we spend the hour with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. It’s been nearly five years since he entered the Ecuadorean Embassy in London seeking political asylum, fearing a Swedish arrest warrant could lead to his extradition to the United States. Despite being holed up in the embassy, Assange’s impact is still being felt across the globe. His asylum case recently became an issue in the Ecuadorean presidential election. The right-wing candidate, Guillermo Lasso, had vowed to remove Assange from the embassy if he won. But Lasso lost to President Rafael Correa’s former vice president, Lenín Moreno, who said Assange is welcome to stay.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks recently began releasing a massive trove of secret CIA documents, exposing how the agency has developed tools to hack into and spy on personal phones, computers and televisions all over the world. WikiLeaks described the leak as the largest-ever release of confidential documents on the CIA.
AMY GOODMAN: WikiLeaks’ activity before the 2016 election is also still generating headlines. Just before the Democratic National Convention last July, WikiLeaks published 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee. Within two days, the head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned her post, in part because the emails showed the DNC worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders, who was challenging Hillary Clinton for the nomination. Less than three months later, WikiLeaks began publishing internal emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Soon, Donald Trump was praising WikiLeaks on the campaign trail.
DONALD TRUMP: This just came out. This just came out. WikiLeaks—I love WikiLeaks.
AMY GOODMAN: Between October 7th and Election Day, WikiLeaks would go on to publish 20,000 of Podesta’s emails, generating a rash of negative stories about the Clinton campaign.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking the DNC and Podesta accounts, but many questions still remain about what happened. During a recent congressional hearing, FBI Director James Comey placed the blame on Russia intelligence when questioned by Congressman Adam Schiff.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Do you know whether the Russian intelligence services dealt directly with WikiLeaks or whether they, too, used an intermediary?
JAMES COMEY: We assess they used some kind of cutout. They didn’t deal directly with WikiLeaks, in contrast to DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0.
AMY GOODMAN: That was FBI Director James Comey on March 20th.
Well, joining us now from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London is Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
Julian, welcome back to Democracy Now!
JULIAN ASSANGE: Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Did Russia leak the documents, either the DNC documents or the John Podesta emails, to WikiLeaks?
JULIAN ASSANGE: We have said quite clearly that our source is not a member of any state, including the Russian government. Now, if you look at these statements by James Comey, James Clapper, going back a couple of months, statements by Barack Obama, they all are harmonious with our description. Now, what—what the U.S. investigation by James Comey seems to be trying to say, at least in public, is that they perceive that there was some Russian hacking, or at least some hacking from somewhere, of the DNC, other institutions in the United States. In fact, the allegations are that several thousands of people were hacked in those operations.
AMY GOODMAN: But how do you know—how do you know it’s not Russia? How do you know it’s not a state actor, since you usually say you don’t know who gives you documents?
JULIAN ASSANGE: We look very closely at our publications. We tend to come to a good understanding of them. And so, we’re not willing to go into details about our source, because it might describe the sort of person they are, the sort of jurisdiction that they’re in, which could put them at risk. But we have said clearly that our source is not a member of the Russian state. And even the U.S. government is not suggesting that our source is a member of the Russian state.
And what appears to be going on is that there have been observations of hacking of thousands of people or attempted hacking of thousands of people. That’s quite normal in intelligence gathering activity before an election. Presumably, that’s been carried out by many states. I would be surprised if that doesn’t include Russia. And over here, there’s the publications of WikiLeaks. And what there isn’t is something in between the middle. So, there’s an allegation that, well, if there’s been hacking here, and there’s publication over here, then these must be directly, causally, intentionally related. But so far, there’s no evidence for that.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Julian, I want to turn to Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff speaking at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee last month.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Later in July and after the convention, the first stolen emails detrimental to Hillary Clinton appear on WikiLeaks. A hacker who goes by the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claims responsibility for hacking the DNC and giving the documents to WikiLeaks. The leading private cybersecurity firms, including CrowdStrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect, reviewed the evidence of the hack and conclude, with high certainty, that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29, who are known to be Russian intelligence services. The U.S. intelligence community also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by Russian intelligence, and Guccifer 2.0 acted as a front. Also in late July, candidate Trump praises WikiLeaks, says he loves them, and openly appeals to the Russians to hack his opponent’s emails, telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Congressman Adam Schiff. Julian, I’m wondering if you could respond to some of the things he’s saying in that statement?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, Mr. Schiff is a Democratic congressman who’s trying to whip up a kind of neo-McCarthyist fervor in order to distract from the epic failure of Hillary Clinton and that team when they lost, of all people, to Donald Trump. So, it’s not particularly interesting.
I think we should pull back and put things in context. The United States government, since 1950, has intervened in 81 elections—interfered, to use Schiff’s language, in 81 elections. That is not including coups, which have overthrown the government. So there’s a long history of the United States doing this to places around the world, in infamous ways, and, most recently, alleged interference in the election of Israel. So, I think we should understand that the United States is in a glass house when it comes to allegations of attempting to interfere with or influence election results.
But let’s look at what is the real meat of this issue. How is it alleged that Russia has interfered in the U.S. election process? While they say there’s been a variety of hacks, well, that’s quite normal intelligence gathering process, as far as can be determined, and a few extremely ineffectual websites, such as DC Leaks or Guccifer 2.0, that no one really paid any attention to, and then there’s our publications, which people really did pay attention to.
Now, what is in our publications? Well, from our perspective, we have just published, accurately and fairly, what Hillary Clinton said her positions were, in her secret speeches to Goldman Sachs and in relation to the DNC and its attempt to rig the election to exclude the primary—primary person, sorry, to exclude Bernie Sanders. So, at the heart of this issue is whether people were told the truth about Hillary Clinton and the DNC. If there hadn’t been an ugly truth there, it wouldn’t have made any difference. There was an ugly truth. And we published, accurately and fairly, that ugly truth. Now, our source wasn’t from the Russian state. But if it had been from a state, would we have suppressed that information before an election, or would we have accurately and fairly published it? Of course we would have published it.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, but, Julian, I wanted to ask you, in relations to what you said, we’ve had other guests on, for instance, Scott Horton, who said, yes, you’re absolutely right, the United States has been involved in seeking to destabilize governments and overthrow governments all over the world. But Horton said that there’s a difference between what Russia attempted to do and whether anyone in the Trump administration colluded with Russia or helped or cooperated or had conversations with the Russians as they were seeking to destabilize the U.S. elections. And Scott Horton says that would be definitely a problematic issue for Trump. I’m wondering your thoughts about that?
JULIAN ASSANGE: I would agree. That would be interesting and unusual. I don’t think it’s true. I think it is interesting that, early on, that Trump and people around him took a position of rapprochement towards Russia, very strong position of rapprochement towards Russia, and not a classically Republican position. I think that is interesting. It is somewhat compatible with Trump’s statements going back a very long time.
But I would be surprised if that turns out to be significant. Why do I say that? Well, Trump had very little business success in Russia. He hasn’t managed to build a hotel in Russia. He hasn’t gotten any—as far as can be determined, any good deals in Russia. And when you see him making statements during the election campaign on the stage—”Hey, Russia, if you’ve got those emails, give them to our—give them to the press. They’ll be very pleased about it”—when you see statements like that, this is not the sort of statement that you make if you are already—if you already have a communications channel and you’re already engaged in an active conspiracy. For people like Paul Manafort, that’s someone who’s perfectly capable of engaging in—in, well, let’s say, dodgy activities. They have a long history of working for various parties in different ways. Have they asked for support through Paul Manafort? Maybe. But if you’re looking at the top level, involving Trump, what I see is a great weakness, an inability to get anything concretely done in Russia.
AMY GOODMAN: You know, while Trump may or may not have investments in Russia, it’s very clear the oligarchs in Russia have bailed him out to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, if not more, in the United States, when he was building buildings, having gone bankrupt many times, hard to get a line of credit, in places like just right near Democracy Now!, Trump SoHo, a major building project downtown Manhattan. But I wanted to turn back to Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff speaking at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee last month.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: On August 8th, Roger Stone, a longtime Trump political adviser and self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, boasts in a speech that he has communicated with Assange and that more documents would be coming, including an October surprise. In the middle of August, he also communicates with the Russian cutout Guccifer 2.0 and authors a Breitbart piece denying Guccifer’s links to Russian intelligence. Then, later in August, Stone does something truly remarkable, when he predicts that John Podesta’s personal emails will soon be published. “Trust me,” he says, “it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel, hashtag #CrookedHillary.” In the weeks that follow, Stone shows a remarkable prescience. “I have total confidence that WikiLeaks and my hero, Julian Assange, will educate the American people soon,” he says, hashtag, “#LockHerUp.” “Payload coming,” he predicts. And two days later, it does. WikiLeaks releases its first batch of Podesta emails. The release of John Podesta’s emails would then continue on a daily basis up until the election.
AMY GOODMAN: And this is Trump adviser Roger Stone speaking on August 8th.
REPORTER: Now, with regard to the October surprise, what would be your forecast on that, given what Julian Assange has intimated he’s going to do?
ROGER STONE: Well, it could be any number of things. I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation. But there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Roger Stone, speaking August 8th in Broward County, Florida. If you could respond to the substance of what they’re saying, Julian, and explain what is your relationship with Roger Stone?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, I don’t want to be an apologist for these people, but, really, party politics in the United States is something that everyone has to get away from, this creation of two polarities by different elites that then suck up all the political energy in the country. Well, we can talk a little bit later about what’s happened to the Trump administration and this fascinating process that we have been seeing about how many days does it take for the security sector to digest a president. Something like 75 appears to be the answer.
OK, Roger Stone, I’ve never communicated with the guy, and he’s never communicated with me, other than very recently to say, “What are you doing, saying that we have communicated? Please explain,” because as far as all our records are concerned, we haven’t. He has simply brilliantly inserted himself into this equation. Now, remember, Stone was pushed out in 2015 from the Trump campaign. When WikiLeaks was engaged in its publications exposing interference in the primary process at the DNC, that was the biggest thing on the political radar for that time period. And so, Stone, having nowhere to be, decided to suggest that he had communications with us.
But let’s look at his predictions. He predicted that our publications were going to be about the Clinton Foundation. He was wrong. All his other predictions, where they’re accurate, are statements that we made them public. We said we had information about Hillary Clinton, that we were going to publish it, etc. So, when you hear Adam Schiff saying, oh, that Roger Stone said that there’s—that WikiLeaks publications are coming, we were saying—I was saying on TV interviews that we had publications that were coming that were about Hillary Clinton. So, Stone predicted that we were going to publish on October 4. We didn’t publish on October 4. That was our 10-year anniversary, etc. Literally, there’s no predictions that he has made in relation to us, that have come true, that have not been public.
So, I think, you know, you have to admire the chutzpah of how he has played on Democratic desires to see a connection, and has exploited that in order to sell his books and in order to gain prominence. I mean, it’s very impressive. He just simply lays out a piece of bait that he understands that the Democratically aligned press will leap forward slavishly and put that hook in their mouth—
AMY GOODMAN: Julian, we have to break.
JULIAN ASSANGE: —because it—because it suits him.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: WikiLeaks has published what it says is the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. The thousands of documents, dubbed “Vault 7,” describe CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into both Apple and Android cellphones. By hacking into entire phones, the CIA is then reportedly able to bypass encrypted messenger programs, such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp, although, contrary to many news reports, the documents do not show the CIA has developed tools to hack these encrypted services themselves. The documents also outline a CIA and British intelligence program called “Weeping Angel,” through which the spy agency can hack into a Samsung smart television and turn it into a surveillance device that records audio conversations, even when it appears to be off.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the Vault 7 documents, we’re going back to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where we are joined by Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Talk about the significance of this latest release of documents, Julian, that WikiLeaks has engaged in.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Vault 7 is the largest intelligence leak in history. We’ve published so far less than 1 percent of that material. Now, so far, the publications that we have published reveal that the Central Intelligence Agency has decided to create, in the last 10 years, its own captive version of the National Security Agency, not specialized in bulk interception, but specialized in semiautomated hacking processes. That’s creation of viruses, Trojans, etc., to put in people’s computer systems, telephones, TVs, and have those then report back to CIA listening posts that collect that information, ingest it into the broader CIA process. And also information can be pushed, using these mechanisms, onto those telephones, computers, etc., etc., to, for example, plant information that could implicate someone falsely, or perhaps even truly, in a crime.
So, I think it’s—it’s significant that as the Central Intelligence Agency gained budgetary and political preeminence over the National Security Agency, which used to have a bigger budget—in the post-9/11 environment, the CIA’s budget has now increased to about 1.5 times that of the National Security Agency. So, in response to that increased political power, where increased budgetary spending comes from, it has created its own effective air force, using drones, and its own large hacker squad. So it is able to do things internally that it would previously have to go out for others to do. So, the Central Intelligence Agency, like all institutions, is maximizing its institutional power. And it is slowly succeeding, compared to other institutions.
Now, in response to the various disclosures about the National Security Agency—most importantly, the Edward Snowden disclosures of 2013—industry has responded to market demand in various places, and various engineers ideologically also invested in this, to introduce encryption, in WhatsApp, in Signal, greater type—more types of encrypted email and so on. Now, the Central Intelligence Agency’s hacking approach does not target the intermediaries like the National Security Agency does for these bulk intercepts. Instead, it targets the endpoints, and then it doesn’t need to worry about the encryption. For example, if you and I, Amy, are communicating using, say, Signal on a smartphone, on an Apple or Android, then the Signal encryption protocol is actually quite good and, as far as is known, cannot be decrypted by an intermediary bulk spying on communications traffic going across the Atlantic, like the National Security Agency does. But if either you or I have our phones hacked, and the CIA software specializes in doing this, it means that that encryption doesn’t matter, because the—because the information is gathered either before it’s encrypted or after it is decrypted.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Julian, in terms of the material you have releases so far, you did redact any of the computer codes that you got access to, and you offered to have companies that may be affected by this, tech companies, to provide them the codes so that they could fix any vulnerabilities. Have any companies taken you up on the offer?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes, that’s a very interesting process, and we knew that it would be. So, we made this offer publicly, and we also wrote to a number of the large companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, which produces the Mozilla browser, etc. Now, the European companies responded almost immediately. Some even approached us. A couple of U.S. companies, such as Mozilla, responded immediately. And we were also approached by a security engineer at Cisco.
Google, Apple and Microsoft took eight or nine days, depending on the company, to respond. Now, that means that they were putting the—all the users at risk for eight or nine days. What was happening in that eight or nine days? Well, we hear—we’re not sure it’s true for all of the companies, but we hear from one of the companies that what was happening is that they were engaging their lawyers, they had been worried about the politics, etc., etc. My guess is that, on the legal front, a type of collaboration involving classified material could be argued to be conspiracy to commit espionage. Now, of course, that’s not actually practically possible in the U.S. court system or politically possible. And then these companies have individuals within them who have security clearances, because they work on classified projects for the government. And particularly the security divisions of Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc., have people with security clearances in them and who might lose their security clearances if they’re engaged in working on information that has been distributed not through a formal process. So, what you see in the—all those big three taking eight or nine days is some kind of collaboration, either directly with each other or through a third party, say, like the Department of Justice, to understand what role that they’re going to play.
And the role that they ended up playing is saying, “No, we don’t agree to fix anything,” which we had asked for, within 90 days. “No, we don’t agree to say that any fix came from you.” This was our requirement. “Instead, you can just throw something at our regular security reporting mechanism.” So, what’s going on there? Well, no record of collaboration, in a formal sense or in a political sense, that could be used to make political problems for those companies in terms of their contracts with the United States government or potentially introduce problems in relation to the Espionage Act or security clearances. That’s my supposition. We don’t know that’s true for sure. We know that some of that is true for at least one of these companies. But looking at the timing, it’s very unusual that Google, Microsoft and Apple all wrote back to us on the eighth or ninth day, whereas the other companies wrote back immediately or at various times.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In October, The Intercept published a conversation between Glenn Greenwald and Naomi Klein about WikiLeaks’s decision to disclose thousands of John Podesta’s personal emails. This is part of what Naomi Klein said.
NAOMI KLEIN: I would add, it’s not just that they didn’t curate it and just dumped it all, right? They are dumping it, but they are doling out the dumps—right?—to maximize—clearly, to maximize damage. Right? So they’re not just saying, “Hey, information wants to be free. Here is everything we have. Journalists, have a field day. Go through it.” Right? You know, they’re very clearly looking for maximum media attention—you can tell that just by looking at the WikiLeaks, you know, Twitter feed—and, you know, timing it right before the debate. You’ve written about how dangerous it is for media organizations to be taking such a highly political approach to this election, because they so clearly don’t want Trump to get elected, so they’re engaging in what you’ve described as journalistic fraud, right? I agree with you.
GLENN GREENWALD: Right.
NAOMI KLEIN: But we have to acknowledge how political WikiLeaks and Julian are being here.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Naomi Klein in October. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, your response to some of her remarks?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, I think it’s a bit rich for Naomi Klein, who’s a very wealthy woman, sitting up there in Canada, to be accusing a political prisoner, who’s been detained for the last seven years without charge, in violation of two U.N. rulings, without getting her facts straight.
So, what is WikiLeaks to do? Sit on and suppress evidence of interference in the DNC process? Wait until after the DNC congress to publish that information? That would be deeply unethical for this organization. I would argue it would be deeply unethical for any media organization. But for this organization, it would be deeply unethical. We have a commitment to the public that we will not suppress information like that. And we have a commitment to sources who come forward, taking risks to give us information, that we will publish it in a timely fashion, once we have verified that it is completely accurate. Now, do we wish that we had more money and could process information faster? Of course we do. But we did manage to get that publication out before the DNC, and I think that was very important, so that people involved in that process could understand who it was that they were choosing to go for.
Now, let’s be realistic. Naomi has a particular issue, a very important issue, and I agree it’s an important issue, which is climate change. And so, she was willing to attack anyone in her campaign to make sure Hillary Clinton was elected, because she perceived that Hillary Clinton would do better on climate change. And I agree it’s a very serious issue. But in relation to WikiLeaks, we are an organization that has a commitment to the public to publish true information and not suppress it, and to make sure that as many people read it as possible. Is it true that the way that we staged our publishing process increased the engagement of people in reading our material, going through it, etc., etc.? Of course it is. Did we do a good job—did we do a good job in getting people, enticing people, to read and report on our material? Yes, we did. And we will do that for any source, any whistleblower, that comes to us and gives us information. We will try and maximize the amount of readers that come as a result of the risks that those people take. That’s our promise to the public, to our readers and to our sources.
AMY GOODMAN: You know, early in the campaign, Naomi did write an article that—clearly supporting Bernie Sanders, writing Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted. But we are also joined by Allan Nairn, longtime investigative journalist and activist. Allan, if you can weigh in this discussion right now, as we talk to Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy?
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I have a—first, I have a brief question for Julian Assange. Mr. Assange, you said that you did not get the leaks directly from a state. You said you know you did not get the leaks directly from a state. Do you know that Russia didn’t give you the leaks through an intermediary?
JULIAN ASSANGE: I’m not going to be playing 20 questions on our sources. I’m sure you understand, Allan, as a source protection organization, we’re not going to be inscribing circles around who our sources are, how we communicate with them, any properties that might be used to arrest them or criticize them in some future process.
ALLAN NAIRN: So it is possible that, as Comey said, Russia gave you the leaks through an intermediary?
JULIAN ASSANGE: I’m simply not going to comment on it.
ALLAN NAIRN: OK. Well, my view of this is that during the campaign, WikiLeaks often suggested that Trump would be less dangerous than Clinton.
JULIAN ASSANGE: No, we didn’t.
ALLAN NAIRN: I think you did.
JULIAN ASSANGE: No, we didn’t.
ALLAN NAIRN: I think that concept is wildly, gruesomely mistaken. There was the argument—well, it’s just—
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, that’s fine—it’s fine for you to say that, but you should understand that, no, we didn’t. In fact, I was asked that question directly on Democracy Now! at the time about what my position was, asked which one I preferred. And my response is, being asked this question is being asked: Do I prefer cholera, or do I prefer gonorrhea?
ALLAN NAIRN: OK. Well, let’s say—let’s say, if you frame it that way, the idea that the two—
JULIAN ASSANGE: All right? I mean, one can go into historical revisionism.
ALLAN NAIRN: I would like—I would—
JULIAN ASSANGE: And Clinton historical revisionism is occurring. And you understand why it is occurring. Because the Democratic Party had—I think it’s—I think it’s lost now, but the Democratic Party had a moment for very important internal reform after its epic loss to Donald Trump. The two—a very disliked candidate as far as the polling is concerned. So, the Democratic Party had an epic loss. Who was responsible for that epic loss?
ALLAN NAIRN: The Democrats.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, the Democratic Party was, and its various structures, its institutions, etc.
ALLAN NAIRN: The Democrats were responsible for that epic loss, no question.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Now, who was not—who was not responsible for that epic loss—
ALLAN NAIRN: But if—if—if I may—
JULIAN ASSANGE: —was those people telling the public the truth. Those people are not responsible. People take the truth, and they absorb it, and they think about it, and they do what they want with it. And the reality is, the American people so disliked what was being offered to them by the Democratic Party that they decided that they preferred to blow it all up rather than have Hillary Clinton. They decided they would throw the Trump grenade.
ALLAN NAIRN: I agree with that. However, I would note that the Trump campaign thought that WikiLeaks was on their side.
Now, the idea, that Mr. Assange just suggested, that Trump and Clinton were equally dangerous, two different deadly diseases, I think is wildly and gruesomely mistaken. Clinton represented a criminal establishment. But Trump and the people he brought in with him make it worse, make it even more criminal. This idea that it was just a choice between the lesser of two evils, well, in politics, in life, you fight like hell to have good choices, to have better choices—in this case, Sanders was a better alternative—but once that is no longer possible, then of course you choose the lesser evil. What do you want, more evil? More killing? More pollution? More abuse of immigrants? More racism? More impunity for corporations? More aid to death squads? More spending for the military? All of that is what you get with Trump, in distinction to the bad—the other bad things you would have gotten with Clinton. And the win of Clinton was not—or, I’m sorry, the victory of Trump was not equally as bad as it would have been if Clinton had lost. It’s a catastrophe. It’s an utter catastrophe. And those who are poorest, those who are already most oppressed and most vulnerable, are the ones who are suffering most as a result.
And we ain’t seen nothing yet. They’re just getting started. Now with Gorsuch coming on the Supreme Court and with the possibility that the legislative filibuster in the Senate will be abolished, as well as the Supreme Court filibuster, if that happens, that will give Trump and the radical Republican right, who now control the Congress, essentially absolute power. The only thing standing in their way will be some federal judges, which means that within the system there will be no blocking power. There will be nothing to stop them. In that case, the only way to stop them will be from outside the federal system, which means in the streets or from the systems of the states and localities. We’re in the midst of a right-wing revolution. I agree that a lot of this discussion about Russia and leaks is misguided, a lot of it, and it’s diverting attention from two main facts. One, we’re in the midst of a right-wing revolution that must be stopped and reversed. Two, the Democratic establishment discredited themselves, and they have to be removed and replaced by the Democratic base.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Julian, your response? I’d like to also, if you can, talk about—you’ve mentioned, at numerous times, the existence of the deep state, and what the relationship with the deep state is to your perspective about what’s going on right now in the United states?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, look, up until very recently—and I guess we still have to see how it goes—I’ve been delighted by the conflict that has been occurring between the incoming administration and between the security services, etc. Why is that? Because it has shed light on both. It is resulting in the courts throwing nooses around the power of the presidency and tying him down. And, I mean, that’s something that I predicted would happen, and it is happening very rapidly.
The problem for party politics in the United States is that the Democrats have been in collapse for almost eight years, at the council level, at the state level and at the national level. So, the election of Donald Trump, while he’s an unusual person psychologically, and Hillary Clinton was a particularly bad candidate, is actually part of something that’s much bigger. And it’s very interesting to think what that is, because any solution in terms of party politics has to understand why it is that the Democratic machinery has seemingly been in inexorable collapse over the last eight years. And you can perhaps say it’s to do with gross economic factors, perhaps the professionalization of the Democratic class, where you have a revolving door of contractors and so on. So you can see this in our DNC leaks, that you have educated, professionalized Democrats, who have lifted off the working-class base and who are then involved in a revolving-door system, becoming lobbyists, going back into the DNC, etc. If you read the emails we’ve published about John Podesta, you can see this is not just simply something that happens. This is an expectation within that community. And anyone who doesn’t engage in that expectation, anyone who doesn’t go into private industry and get a $400,000-a-year consulting contract as a local or foreign agent, is viewed to be as a fool. And so, you can only keep up that game for so long, and it starts to turn people off, and you start to lose the base. And that’s what happened in this particular run. But the—I caution—
AMY GOODMAN: Let me get—let me get Allan Nairn—
JULIAN ASSANGE: I caution Allan—
AMY GOODMAN: Let me get Allan’s comment.
JULIAN ASSANGE: I caution Allan strongly. I have a lot of respect for his work, but I caution him strongly to not to get swept up into what is an attempt by the Democratic Party in this particular case, but by the two parties, to polarize the population into party politics. There’s lots of interesting things that can come out of this Trump administration. We’re seeing great horrors, of course. But we are seeing these horrors. We are seeing the—
ALLAN NAIRN: Not so interesting to the people who are being killed and deported.
JULIAN ASSANGE: We’re seeing the—we’re seeing the conflict with the security services, the deep state. Now, I’ve been writing—well, I’ve been writing about the deep state for a decade, using that word. Now, Turkish academics have been writing about the equivalent in Turkey. Some Hungarian investigative journalists, the same within Hungary. And finally, this word is now something in U.S. politics. It’s not a new concept. It’s, you know, essentially the military-industrial complex plus lobbyists, plus contractors, plus people in the Senate Intelligence Committee, etc., etc. So—
AMY GOODMAN: We just—we just have—
JULIAN ASSANGE: —we all understand what that is, and—yes.
AMY GOODMAN: We just have 30 seconds, Allan, and I wanted to give you—get you a final comment.
ALLAN NAIRN: The conflict between Trump and the intelligence and the deep state is a spat, not a struggle. Trump has insulted them. He has disrespected them. So they’re unhappy with that. More importantly, Trump wants them to change their tactics to become more crude and even more violent. Once they work together on a couple of new wars, they’ll get along just fine.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you for joining us, Allan Nairn. And, Julian, in our last 10 seconds, you’re coming up on five years in the embassy. How are you doing in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, last year I won an epic victory against the U.K. government and the Swedish government at the U.N., formal ruling. It’s repeated in November. Those governments still have to obey the U.N. I’m being illegally detained, and I should be freed and compensated. That’s according to the U.N.