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Julian Assange on Why Calls for His Death and the McCarthyesque Crackdown on WikiLeaks Are Good Signs

Assange and renowned philosopher Slavoj Zizek discuss the release of the largest trove of classified U.S. government records in history.

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Okay, but the problems is that clouds are not up there in clouds—they are controlled and so on. For example, you rely on, maybe you have an iPhone, but you mentioned Murdoch. [His] name was mentioned here. Do you know, it’s good to know if you rely on your news through iPhone or whatever, that Apple signed an exclusive agreement with Murdoch. Murdoch’s corporation is again the exclusive provider of entire news and so on and so on. This is the danger today. It’s no longer this clear distinction, private space-public space. The public space itself gets, as it were, privatized in a whole series of invisible ways—like the model of it being clouds; which is why and again this involves new modes of censorship, repeat this.

That’s why you say, but what really did we learn new? Maybe we learned nothing new, but you know it’s the same as in that beautiful old innocent fairytale, the Emperor is Naked. The Emperor is Naked. We may all know that the emperor is naked, but the moment somebody publicly says, "the emperor is naked," everything changes, but the moment somebody publicly says the emperor is naked everything changes. This is why even if we learned nothing new – but we did learn many new things – but even if nothing learned, the forum matters. So, don’t confuse Julian and his gang – in a good sense not the way they accuse – don’t confuse them with this usual bourgeois heroism, fight for investigative journalism, free flow and so on. You are doing something much more radical. That’s why it aroused such an explosion of resentment. You are not only violating the rules, disclosing secrets and so on. Let me call it in the old Marxist way the bourgeois press today has its own way to be transgressive. Its ideology controls not only what you can say but also how you can violate what you are allowed to say. You are not only violating the rules, you are changing the very rules how we were allowed to violate the rules. This is maybe the most important thing you can do.

AMY: And, yet, Julian even as you were releasing information in all different ways, you then turn to the very gatekeepers who in some cases had kept back this information and you worked with the mainstream media throughout the world in releasing various documents. Talk about that experience and that level of cooperation and what has happened after that.

ASSANGE: If you want to have an impact and you promise an impact and you’re an organization which is very small where actually you have to co-opt or leverage the rest of the mainstream press. So, under our model of how you make and impact and get people to do things that you wouldn’t have been otherwise be able to do, unless you have an army that can physically go someplace and divisions that can roll over.

The only way you can easily make an impact is push information about the world to many, many people. So, the mainstream press has developed expertise for how to do that. And it’s competition also for people’s attention. So, if we had several billion dollars to spend on advertizing across the world, if we could get our ads placed, we wouldn’t easily be able to make the same impact as we did. And we don’t have that kind of money. So, instead we entered into
partnership with over 80 media organizations all over the world, including many good ones that I wouldn’t want to disparage. To increase the impact and push our material into over 50 different countries endemically. That has been, yes, subverting the filters of the mainstream press.

 
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