Complete Transcript Of Assange Guardian Livechat (And Possibly His Last Pre-Arrest)
Earlier today, record interest in what could be Julian Assange's last live chat crashed the Guardian's entire website (which is the 16th top ranked site in Britain on a regular day getting tens of millions of hits). To be sure, the Guardian's exhaustive coverage of Assange's travails have paid off in droves, and as the Alexa chart below shows, the site's rank has surged as ad revenues have exploded. We hope the Guardian is keeping at least some of the proceeds in escrow for the soon to be created "Free Julian" fund. And while a boredom-intolerant world awaits news of the Wikileaks creator's arrest, below is a complete transcript of what could be his last live interview before captivity.
But first, the Guardian's traffic spike since the whoe Cablegate affair:
Full transcript from the Guardian.
I'll start the ball rolling with a question.
You're an Australian passport holder - would you want return to your own
country or is this now out of the question due to potentially being
arrested on arrival for releasing cables relating to Australian
diplomats and polices?
am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal. However,
during the last weeks the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, and
the attorney general, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not
only is my return is impossible but that they are actively working to
assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our
people. This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian
citizen - does that mean anything at all? Or are we all to be treated
like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that
Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US
embassy cocktail parties.
How do you think you have changed world affairs?
And if you call all the attention you've been given-credit ... shouldn't the mole or source receive a word of praise from you?
For the past four years one of
our goals has been to lionise the source who take the real risks in
nearly every journalistic disclosure and without whose efforts,
journalists would be nothing. If indeed it is the case, as alleged by
the Pentagon, that the young soldier - Bradley Manning - is behind some
of our recent disclosures, then he is without doubt an unparalleled
Have you released, or will you
release, cables (either in the last few days or with the Afghan and Iraq
war logs) with the names of Afghan informants or anything else like so?
Are you willing to censor (sorry for using the term) any names that you feel might land people in danger from reprisals??
By the way, I think history will absolve you. Well done!!!
has a four-year publishing history. During that time there has been no
credible allegation, even by organisations like the Pentagon that even a
single person has come to harm as a result of our activities. This is
despite much-attempted manipulation and spin trying to lead people to a
counter-factual conclusion. We do not expect any change in this regard.
State Dept is mulling over the issue of whether you are a journalist or
not. Are you a journalist? As far as delivering information that
someone [anyone] does not want seen is concerned, does it matter if you
are a 'journalist' or not?
I coauthored my first nonfiction
book by the time I was 25. I have been involved in nonfiction
documentaries, newspapers, TV and internet since that time. However, it
is not necessary to debate whether I am a journalist, or how our people
mysteriously are alleged to cease to be journalists when they start
writing for our organisaiton. Although I still write, research and
investigate my role is primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief
who organises and directs other journalists.
have there ever been documents forwarded to you which deal with the topic of UFOs or extraterrestrials?
Many weirdos email us about UFOs
or how they discovered that they were the anti-christ whilst talking
with their ex-wife at a garden party over a pot-plant. However, as yet
they have not satisfied two of our publishing rules.
1) that the documents not be self-authored;
2) that they be original.
However, it is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs.
happened to all the other documents that were on Wikileaks prior to
these series of "megaleaks"? Will you put them back online at some stage
("technical difficulties" permitting)?
Many of these are still available
at mirror.wikileaks.info and the rest will be returning as soon as we
can find a moment to do address the engineering complexities. Since
April of this year our timetable has not been our own, rather it has
been one that has centred on the moves of abusive elements of the United
States government against us. But rest assured I am deeply unhappy that
the three-and-a-half years of my work and others is not easily
available or searchable by the general public.
Have you expected this level of impact all over the world? Do you fear for your security?
I always believed that WikiLeaks
as a concept would perform a global role and to some degree it was clear
that is was doing that as far back as 2007 when it changed the result
of the Kenyan general election. I thought it would take two years
instead of four to be recognised by others as having this important
role, so we are still a little behind schedule and have much more work
to do. The threats against our lives are a matter of public record,
however, we are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we
are able when dealing with a super power.
am a former British diplomat. In the course of my former duties I
helped to coordinate multilateral action against a brutal regime in the
Balkans, impose sanctions on a renegade state threatening ethnic
cleansing, and negotiate a debt relief programme for an impoverished
nation. None of this would have been possible without the security and
secrecy of diplomatic correspondence, and the protection of that
correspondence from publication under the laws of the UK and many other
liberal and democratic states. An embassy which cannot securely offer
advice or pass messages back to London is an embassy which cannot
operate. Diplomacy cannot operate without discretion and the
protection of sources. This applies to the UK and the UN as much as the US.
publishing this massive volume of correspondence, Wikileaks is not
highlighting specific cases of wrongdoing but undermining the entire
process of diplomacy. If you can publish US cables then you can publish
UK telegrams and UN emails.
My question to you is: why should we not
hold you personally responsible when next an international crisis goes
unresolved because diplomats cannot function.
If you trim the vast editorial letter to the singular question actually asked, I would be happy to give it my attention.
you explain the censorship of identities as XXXXX's in the revealed
cables? Some critical identities are left as is, whereas some are
XXXXX'd. Some cables are partially revealed. Who can make such critical
decisons, but the US gov't? As far as we know your request for such help
was rejected by the State department. Also is there an order in the
release of cable or are they randomly selected?
The cables we have release
correspond to stories released by our main stream media partners and
ourselves. They have been redacted by the journalists working on the
stories, as these people must know the material well in order to write
about it. The redactions are then reviewed by at least one other
journalist or editor, and we review samples supplied by the other
organisations to make sure the process is working.
as it may be, the DDoS seems to be good publicity (if anything, it adds
to your credibility). So is getting kicked out of AWS. Do you agree
with this statement? Were you planning for it?
Thank you for doing what you are doing.
Since 2007 we have been
deliberately placing some of our servers in jurisdictions that we
suspected suffered a free speech deficit inorder to separate rhetoric
from reality. Amazon was one of these cases.
started something that nobody can stop. The Beginning of a New World.
Remember, that community is behind you and support you (from Slovakia).
Do you have leaks on ACTA?
Yes, we have leaks on the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a trojan horse trade agreement
designed from the very beginning to satisfy big players in the US
copyright and patent industries. In fact, it was WikiLeaks that first
drew ACTA to the public's attention - with a leak.
Flanagan, a [former] senior adviser to Canadian Prime Minister recently
stated "I think Assange should be assassinated ... I think Obama should
put out a contract ... I wouldn't feel unhappy if Assange does
How do you feel about this?
It is correct that Mr. Flanagan
and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with
incitement to commit murder.
Julian, why do
you think it was necessary to "give Wikileaks a face"? Don't you think
it would be better if the organization was anonymous?
debate has become very personal and reduced on you - "Julian Assange
leaked documents", "Julian Assange is a terrorist", "Julian Assange
alledgedly raped a woman", "Julian Assange should be assassinated",
"Live Q&A qith Julian Assange" etc. Nobody talks about Wikileaks as
an organization anymore. Many people don't even realize that there are
other people behind Wikileaks, too.
And this, in my opinion, makes
Wikileaks vulnerable because this enables your opponents to argue ad
hominem. If they convince the public that you're an evil, woman-raping
terrorist, then Wikileaks' credibility will be gone. Also, with due
respect for all that you've done, I think it's unfair to all the other
brave, hard working people behind Wikileaks, that you get so much
This is an interesting question. I
originally tried hard for the organisation to have no face, because I
wanted egos to play no part in our activities. This followed the
tradition of the French anonymous pure mathematians, who wrote under the
collective allonym, "The Bourbaki". However this quickly led to
tremendous distracting curiosity about who and random individuals
claiming to represent us. In the end, someone must be responsible to the
public and only a leadership that is willing to be publicly courageous
can genuinely suggest that sources take risks for the greater good. In
that process, I have become the lightening rod. I get undue attacks on
every aspect of my life, but then I also get undue credit as some kind
of balancing force.
Western governments lay claim to moral authority in part from having legal guarantees for a free press.
Threats of legal sanction against Wikileaks and yourself seem to weaken this claim.
press needs to be protected except that which is unpopular to the
State? If being state-sanctioned is the test for being a media
organization, and therefore able to claim rights to press freedom, the
situation appears to be the same in authoritarian regimes and the west.)
Do you agree that western governments risk losing moral authority by
Do you believe western goverments have any moral authority to begin with?
The west has fiscalised its basic
power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings,
bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to
be "free" because a change in political will rarely leads to any change
in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely
has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states
like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has
power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as
an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that
jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope,
speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.
the game that you are caught up in winnable? Technically, can you keep
playing hide and seek with the powers that be when services and service
providers are directly or indirectly under government control or
vulnerable to pressure - like Amazon?
Also, if you get "taken out" -
and that could be technical, not necessarily physical - what are the
alternatives for your cache of material?
Is there a 'second line' of activists in place that would continue the campaign?
Is your material 'dispersed' so that taking out one cache would not necessarily mean the end of the game?
The Cable Gate archive has been
spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries
to over 100,000 people in encrypted form. If something happens to us,
the key parts will be released automatically. Further, the Cable Gate
archives is in the hands of multiple news organisations. History will
win. The world will be elevated to a better place. Will we survive? That
depends on you.
That's it every one, thanks for all your questions and
comments. Julian Assange is sorry that he can't answer every question
but he has tried to cover as much territory as possible. Thanks for your
patience with our earlier technical difficulties.
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