Julian Assange on Why Calls for His Death and the McCarthyesque Crackdown on WikiLeaks Are Good Signs
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Joe Biden, vice-president of the United States, said: “Julian Assange is a high-tech terrorist”. Congress member Peter King of New York called for Assange to be charged under the Espionage Act and asked whether WikiLeaks can be designated a terrorist organization. Not to just focus on the U.S., Tom Flanagan, a former aide to the Canadian prime minister, has called for Assange’s assassination. And former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, called you, Julian, an "anti-American operative with blood on his hands". Can you respond to these charges?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, after Bill Keller said that I was thin-skinned it doesn’t really leave much ground for reply does it? Sarah Palin also, once on Twitter, complained about my grammar, which is really the biggest insult for me. Calling for a drone attack is perfectly understandable, correcting my grammar from Sarah Palin, that’s a real insult.
That event in the United States was very interesting. Obviously, the calls are wrong and outrageous and so on, but the social and political event in which they occurred were fascinating. So, within a few months, we saw a new McCarthyist hysteria arise in December, January – December last year, January this year. That is quite worrying that a new McCarthyism can come up so quickly.
On the other hand, yes, there are a lot of opportunistic politicians playing to their base, playing to their pals in the military-industrial complex. But, on the other hand, power that is completely unaccountable is silent. So, when you walk past a group of ants on the street and you accidentally crush a few, you do not turn to the others and say “Stop complaining or I’ll put a drone strike on your head”. You completely ignore them. And that is what happens to power that’s in a very dominant position. It does not even bother to respond, does not flinch for even an instance.
Yet we saw all these figures coming out and speaking very aggressively. Bill Keller, in a recent talk, as a way of perhaps legitimizing why he was speaking with me, said “if you have a dealing with Julian Assange, you’re fated to sit on panels for the rest of your life explaining what you did.” No, actually that’s a choice made by Bill Keller, a choice to twist history and whitewash history, and adjust history on a constant basis. Why? Why expend energy doing that? Why not just knock off another pager of the New York Times? Because, actually, these people are frightened of the true part of history coming about and coming forth. So, I see this as a very positive sign.
And, I’ve stated before, we should always see censorship, actually, as a very positive sign, and attempts towards censorship as a sign that society is not yet completely sewn up, not yet completely fiscalized but still has some political dimension to it. I.E: What people think and believe and feel and the words that they listen to actually matters. Because, in some areas, it doesn’t matter. And, in the United States, most of the time, actually it doesn’t matter what you say We managed to speak and give information at such volume and of such intensity, people were actually forced to respond. It is rare that they are forced to respond.
So, I think this is one of the first positive symptoms I’ve seen from the United States for a while. If you speak at this level, the cage can be rattled and people can be forced to respond. In China, the censorship is much more aggressive, which, to me, is a much more hopeful sign that it is still a political society, even though it is fiscalizing, even though it is being sewn up in contractual relationships and banking relationships as time has gone by. At the moment, the Chinese government and public security bureau are actually scared of what people to think.