Julian Assange

Australian editor, publisher, and activist (born 1971)

Julian Paul Assange (born Julian Paul Hawkins; 3 July 1971) is an Australian computer programmer. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and came to international attention in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. These leaks included the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and CableGate (November 2010). In August 2012, he was granted political asylum by Ecuador and remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. After Ecuador withdrew its granting of asylum, Assange was arrested by British police on 11 April 2019 and imprisoned (initially for jumping bail in 2012) pending his extradition to the United States.

You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can't lead to a good conclusion.
No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power that Assange and Snowden have disclosed. That both men are fugitives is indicative of the retreat of liberal democracies from principles of freedom and justice. Why is WikiLeaks a landmark in journalism? Because its revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run. ~ John Pilger
Capable, generous men do not create victims, they nurture them.
The world... is ruled by insiders... insiders do not tell outsiders the truth, and they do not turn against other insiders... ~Yanis Varoufakis
...Julian [Assange]... created the technology that allowed the outsiders to get a glimpse within...and this is why he's being persecuted. ~Yanis Varoufakis
WikiLeaks is a multi-jurisdictional public service...We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies... In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." We agree... Wikileaks:About
A great number of those working for liberal causes are not only shy but borderline collusive. They want change to happen nicely, and it won't. They want decency to come about without anybody suffering or being embarrassed, and it won't. And most of all they want to give many of the enemies of open government the benefit of the doubt, and I don't... You can't go about disclosure in the hope that it won't spoil anybody's dinner.
WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections... ~Chris Hedges
A legitimate, registered, multi award-winning media organisation and its editor have legally published the truth about the biggest superpower in the world and embarrassed them and exposed them for wrongdoing - war crimes, corruption and fraud...The whole exercise has been set up to smear and silence the truth... ~Christine Assange
His crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper, no TV channel, no radio station, no BBC, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Guardian can equal. Indeed, it shames them. That explains why he is being punished. ~John Pilger
In 2010, WikiLeaks posted a graphic [which was at the time, a classified U.S. military] video depicting the killing of perhaps a dozen [unarmed] Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists... ~The Atlantic
We are facing a possible global war, and at the same time, a war on journalism, because obviously they don’t want truthful journalism coming out and stopping any attempts at stopping a lucrative war for defence contractors. ~John Pilger[1]
As founder and editor of WikiLeaks, his crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper... can equal. Indeed, it shames them. That explains why he is being punished.
I find myself agreeing with those who think Assange is being unduly vilified ... it is not obvious what law he has violated. ... The U.S. Justice Department, if it pursues a case, will have to answer the question: If WikiLeaks is a criminal organization, what of its media partners, like The New York Times. ~ Jack Goldsmith

Quotes edit

2007 edit

  • Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.
    In a modern economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice.

    If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of love we can find.
    If we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that draws on all our powers.
    Let it be with similar types whos hearts and heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to find the start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in their wandering eyes.

    The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering.
    Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance.
    But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them.

  • We all only live once. So we are obligated to make good use of the time that we have and to do something that is meaningful and satisfying. This is something that I find meaningful and satisfying. That is my temperament. I enjoy creating systems on a grand scale, and I enjoy helping people who are vulnerable. And I enjoy crushing bastards.

2010 edit

  • Large newspapers are routinely censored by legal costs. It is time this stopped. It is time a country said, enough is enough, justice must be seen, history must be preserved, and we will give shelter from the storm.
  • Seeing ongoing political reforms that have a real impact on people all over the world is extremely satisfying. But we want every person who's having a dispute with their kindergarten to feel confident about sending us material.
  • The sense of perspective that interaction with multiple cultures gives you I find to be extremely valuable, because it allows you to see the structure of a country with greater clarity, and gives you a sense of mental independence. You're not swept up in the trivialities of a nation. You can concentrate on the serious matters.
  • It is the media that controls the boundaries of what is politically permissible, so better to change the media. Profit motives work against it, but if we can have the audience understand that most other forms of journalism are not credible, then it may be a forced move.
  • The final nail in the coffin was that I went to the hundredth anniversary of physics at the ANU. There were some 1500 visitors there - four Nobel prize winners - and every goddamn one of them was carting around, on their backs, a backpack given to them by the Defence Science Technology Organisation. At least it was an Australian defence science organisation. And there was just something about their attire, and the way they moved their bodies, and of course the bags on their backs didn't help much either. I couldn't respect them as men.
  • WikiLeaks will not comply with legally abusive requests from Scientology any more than WikiLeaks has complied with similar demands from Swiss banks, Russian offshore stem-cell centers, former African kleptocrats, or the Pentagon.
  • We are not about to leave the field of doing good simply because harm might happen … In our four-year publishing history no one has ever come to physical harm that we are aware of or that anyone has alleged. On the other hand, we have changed governments and constitutions and had tremendous positive outcomes...We wanted to make the news, not be the news. But that produced extraordinary curiosity as to who we were ... this attempt not to be the news, made us the news... We are creating a space behind us that permits a form of journalism which lives up to the name that journalism has always tried to establish for itself. We are creating that space because we are taking on the criticism that comes from robust exposure of powerful groups... We do not have national security concerns. We have concerns about human beings.. We have had over 100 legal attacks. We have been victorious in almost every single legal attack... we operate within the rule of law.
  • 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.

2011 edit

The Economist (1 October 2011) p. 89 edit

  • I may be a chauvinist pig of some sort, but I'm no rapist.
    • Of allegations of sexual assault
  • Vanity in a newspaper man is like perfume on a whore; they use it to fend off a dark whiff of themselves.
  • I never had a mentor. I was forced to make myself up as I went along.

2012 edit

  • Once a media group is powerful for long enough it starts to enter into a relationship with other powerful groups, that is very natural, because other powerful groups seek its favour, seek to make deals and agreements with it, and the individuals who run it. And it starts to stop seeing itself as a group that holds powerful groups to account and starts seeing itself as part of the social network of the elite.
  • If it was the case that WikiLeaks grew to be a very large and powerful media group and remained there for a long time, of course we would enter into the same elite power relationships and would become corrupted by it.
  • I've never said that secrecy doesn't have its place, in fact it's a cornerstone of WikiLeaks, is secrecy. It is protecting the identity of our sources, so it's a cornerstone of our operations. Privacy or secrecy gives organisations an edge over actors who are hostile to them, so it is important for small organisations that are acting in the public's-, public interest to have secrecy. Equally it is important that large and powerful organisations never believe that they have absolute secrecy. It's not important that everything be revealed instantly from them, but it is important that they never feel secure that any particular piece of information will never be revealed. Because it is that fear that some plan will be revealed that keeps them accountable to the degree that they are accountable at all.
  • There is a view that one should never be permitted to be criticized for being even possibly in the future engaged in a contributory act that might be immoral, and that that type of arse-covering is more important than actually saving people's lives. That it is better to let a thousand people die than risk going to save them and possibly running over someone on the way. And that is something that I find to be philosophically repugnant.

2013 edit

  • This is not justice; never could this be justice, the verdict was ordained long ago. Its function is not to determine questions such as guilt or innocence, or truth or falsehood. It is a public relations exercise, designed to provide the government with an alibi for posterity. It is a show of wasteful vengeance; a theatrical warning to people of conscience.

2014 edit

  • Our No. 1 enemy is ignorance. And I believe that is the No. 1 enemy for everyone — it's not understanding what actually is going on in the world.
    • Lee, Newton (2014). Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness (2nd Edition). Springer Science+Business Media. 
  • Censorship represents Fear by Big Information. 'Stopping leaks' is a new form of censorship.
    • Quotes.

Julian Assange, "When Google Met Wikileaks" (ORbooks, New York, 2014) edit

  • In a spectacular electronic intrusion and information dump, sympathetic backers operating under the Anonymous banner had exposed a $2-million-a-month subversion campaign targeting Wikileaks and its supporters (including Glenn Greenwald), which had been prepared by a group of private security contractors on behalf of Bank of America. (p.11)
  • At this point, the delegation was one part Google, three parts US foreign-policy establishment, but I was still none the wiser. (p. 17)
  • It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, DC, including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton's people known that Eric Schmidt's partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel. (pp. 20-21)
  • The received wisdom in advanced capitalistic societies is that there still exists an organic "civil society sector" in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the "private sector," leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech, and accountable government.
  • This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming "civil society" into a buyer's market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm's length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy. (p. 25)
  • Schmidt's emergence as Google's "foreign minister"--making pomp and ceremony state visits across geopolitical fault lines--had not come out of nowhere; it had been presaged by years of assimilation within US establishment networks of reputation and influence. (pp. 34-35)
  • By all appearances, Google's bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgement of the "benevolent superpower," They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of "don't be evil," They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem. (p. 35)
  • Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt's tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of US power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation. (p. 37)
  • The Department of Homeland Security defines the Defense Industrial Base as "the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, <to meet U.S. military requirements> [emphasis added]. The Defense Industrial Base provides "products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations." Does it include regular commercial services purchased by the US military? No. The definition specifically excludes the purchase of regular commercial services. Whatever makes Google a "key member of the Defense Industrial Base," it is not recruitment campaigns pushed out through Google AdWords or soldiers checking their Gmail. (p. 41)
  • Whether it is being just a company or "more than just a company," Google's geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world's largest superpower. (p. 46)
  • Let me first frame this. I looked at something that I had seen going on in the world, which is that I thought there were too many unjust acts. And I wanted there to be more just acts, and fewer unjust acts. (pp. 66-67)
  • [Y]ou can affect a lot of people with a small amount of information. Therefore, you can change the behavior of many people with a small amount of information. The question then arises as to what kinds of information will produce behavior which is just and disincentivize behavior which is unjust. (p. 67)
  • It was clear to me that all over the world publishing is a problem. Whether than it through self-censorship or overt censorship. (p. 69)
  • The issue of preserving politically salient intellectual content while it is under attack is central to what Wikileaks does, because that's what we're after. We're after those bits that people are trying to suppress because we suspect, usually rightly, that they're expending economic work on suppressing those bits because they perceive that those bits are going to induce some change. (p. 83)
  • [I]t's a very suggestive signal that the people who know the information best--i.e., the people who wrote it--are expending economic work in preventing it going into the historical record, preventing it getting to the public. Why spend so much work doing that? It's more efficient to just let everyone have it--you don't have to spend time guarding it, but also you are more efficient in terms of your organization because of all the positive unintended consequences of the information going around. So we selectively go after that information, and that information is selectively suppressed inside organizations, and very frequently, if it is a powerful group, as soon as someone tries to publish it, we see attempts at post-publication suppression. (p. 84)
  • I think that the instincts human beings have are actually much better than the societies that we have. (p. 118)
  • You can have a lot of political "change" in the United States, but will it really change that much? Will it change the amount of money in someone's bank account? Will it change contracts? Will it void contracts that already exist? And contracts on contracts? And contracts on contracts on contracts? Not really. So I say that free speech in many Western places is free not as a result of liberal circumstances but rather as a result of such intense fiscalization that it doesn't matter what you say. The dominant elite doesn't have to be scared of what people think, because a change in political view is not going to change whether they own their company or not; it is not going to change whether they own a piece of land or not. But China is still a politicized society, although it is rapidly heading towards a fiscalized society. (p. 120)
  • I often say that censorship is always a cause for celebration. It is always an opportunity because it reveals fear of reform. It means that the power position is so weak that you have got to care what people think. (p. 121)
  • The much bigger thing is that we as human beings shepherd and create our intellectual history as a civilization. And it is that intellectual history on the shelf that we can pull off the shelf to do stuff, and to avoid doing the dumb things again, because somebody already did the dumb thing and wrote about their experience and we don't need to do it again. There are several processes that are creating that record, and other processes where people are trying to destroy bits of that record, and others that are trying to prevent people from putting things into that record in the first place. We all live off that intellectual record. So what we want to do is get as much into the record, prevent as much as possible being deleted from the record, and then make the record as searchable as possible. (p. 124)
  • A journalist for the "Nation," Greg Mitchell, who has also written about us, wrote a book about the mainstream media called "So Wrong for So Long." And that title is basically it. Yes we have these heroic moments with Watergate and so on, but actually, come on, the press has never been very good. It has always been very bad. Fine journalists are an exception to the rule. When you are involved in something yourself, like I am with Wikileaks, and you know every facet of it, you look to see what is reported about it in the mainstream press and you see naked lie after naked lie. You know that the journalist knows it's a lie, it is not a simple mistake. Then people repeat lies and so on. The condition of the mainstream press nowadays is so appalling I don't think it can be reformed. I don't think that is possible. I think it has to be eliminated, and replaced with something better. (pp. 125-126)
  • I have been pushing this idea of scientific journalism--that things must be precisely cited with the original source, and as much of the information as possible should be put in the public domain so that people can look at it, just like in science so that you can test to see whether the conclusion follows from the experimental data. Otherwise the journalist probably just made it up. In fact, that is what happens all the time: people just make it up. They make it up to such a degree that we are led to war. Most wars in the twentieth century started as a result of lies amplified and spread by the mainstream press. And you may say, "Well that is a horrible circumstance; it is terrible that all these wars start with lies." And I say no, this is a tremendous opportunity, because it means that populations basically don't like wars and they have to be lied into it. That means we can be "truthed" into peace. That is cause for great hope. (pp. 126-127)

2016 edit

Repubblica.it interview (23 December 2016) edit


  • Power is mostly the illusion of power. The Pentagon demanded we destroy our publications. We kept publishing. Clinton denounced us and said we were an attack on the entire "international community". We kept publishing. I was put in prison and under house arrest. We kept publishing. We went head to head with the NSA getting Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, we won and got him asylum. Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed. Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string. Perhaps there are no elephants.
  • most power structures are deeply incompetent, staffed by people who don't really believe in their institutions and that most power is the projection of the perception of power. And the more secretively it works, the more incompetent it is, because secrecy breeds incompetence, while openness breeds competence, because one can see and can compare actions and see which one is more competent. To keep up these appearances, institutional heads or political heads such as presidents spend most of the time trying to walk in front of the train and pretending that it is following them, but the direction is set by the tracks and by the engine of the train. Understanding that means that small and committed organisations can outmanoeuvre these institutional dinosaurs, like the State Department, the NSA or the CIA.

2019 edit

  • What are you frightened of in relation to me meeting with a journalist? What is the embassy afraid of?...Is this a prison?.. why are you surveilling me speaking to a US journalist? Do you think it’s unreasonable for me to expect privacy when I meet with a journalist? Why are you silent?...Why can’t you say anything? Don’t you have an excuse? What is the basis? Why are you surveilling an American journalist? What reason should we tell her?... Is this a prison? This is how you treat a prisoner, not a political refugee!... I am trying to have a private conversation with a journalist. I am also a journalist — and you’re stopping me from doing my work. How can I safely relay my mistreatment and the illegality going on here to this journalist while under surveillance?...You are preventing this journalist from meeting with me in any other room...You have been illegally surveilling me... I know you want me to shut up — the Ecuadorian president has already gagged me... I am banned from producing journalism... You are acting as an agent of the United States government and preventing me from speaking with a US journalist about these violations... What kind of sovereign state allows its ambassadors to be interrogated by another nation? No self respecting state does that!...

2021–2022 edit

Quotes about Assange edit

(most recent first)

2023 edit

  • [His friendship with Pamela Anderson] It was Westwood who introduced her to Julian Assange. Her visits to the Ecuadorian embassy, wearing cocktail dresses and carrying vegan rescue parcels, became infamous. No one knew quite how to read their relationship. She said she loved him – "I still do. He’s so funny. Kind of like nerdy funny. He repeats a joke two or three times – we get it, Julian."
    In the book she calls him "sexy" and says that once, after sharing a bottle of mezcal, "we passed out, and I woke at four in the morning with his cat on my chest. We’d fallen asleep following a slightly frisky, fun, alcohol-induced night." When I ask about it, she teases: "We were close, but I didn’t say it wasn’t platonic." He asked her to marry him. "He was joking. He goes: 'We should get married on the steps of the embassy. I wonder if they’d arrest me?' Then, 'But why give up one prison for another?'" She lets out a high laugh. (Four years later, Assange married his lawyer Stella Moris.)

2022 edit

  • Assange’s WikiLeaks revelations, redactions notwithstanding, gave proof, yet again, that the government of the United States engages in war crimes of historic proportions on a daily basis around the world.....
    Recent documents made available by the CIA’s own official witnesses against Assange not only reveal the frame-up nature of his case, but the lengths the imperial beast considered to rid itself of a single individual, including Assange’s contemplated assassination by the CIA. Assange’s handful of name redactions – no doubt naively employed by WikiLeaks to protect itself from government persecution by citing supposedly inviolable free press and free speech precedents – proved useless in the face of the government’s unleashing its might against a singe individual. That might included plans to send CIA disruption spies into WikiLeaks, illegally breaking into the London-based Ecuadoran Embassy to kidnap him, organizing military forces to orchestrate his kidnapping, including London street battles with imagined Russian forces protecting Assange, to major battles at the London Airport to prevent hypothetical Russian aircraft from absconding with Assange. Fantasy? Absolutely Not! All this, including Assange’s possible assassination, were on the table as U.S. imperialism considered its options in dealing with a single rogue journalist, indeed an Australian journalist over whom the U.S. had zero jurisdiction!
  • It’s pretty sad when the communists are condemning and criticizing the U.S. government for hypocrisy when it comes to human-rights abuses and civil liberties. It’s even sadder when they are right, especially in the case of Julian Assange.

2021 edit

(most recent first)

  • In a patently political decision, the U.K. High Court reversed the British lower court’s denial of extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on a narrow ground, despite the recent revelations of a CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate him... Assange was charged by the Trump administration with violation of the Espionage Act for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. He could be sentenced to 175 years in prison if he is tried and convicted in the United States. But instead of dismissing Trump’s indictment, the Biden administration continues to pursue the case against Assange, notwithstanding the grave threats his prosecution poses to investigative and national security journalism.
  • Two days before the High Court ruling,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared at the so-called Summit for Democracy, “Media freedom plays an indispensable role in informing the public, holding governments accountable, and telling stories that otherwise would not be told. The U.S. will continue to stand up for the brave and necessary work of journalists around the world.”
    If Assange is tried, convicted and imprisoned for doing what journalists routinely do, it will send a chilling message to journalists that they publish material critical of the U.S. government at their peril.
    But by vigorously pursuing Assange’s extradition, the U.S. is doing precisely the opposite. The prosecution of Assange is the first time a journalist has been indicted under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information.
  • Julian exposed another set of wars. Basically, he exposed the so-called war on terror, which began after 9/11, has lasted 20 years, has led to six wars, millions killed, trillions wasted. That is the only balance sheet of that war. ... And if they think that punishing him in this vindictive and punitive way is going to change people’s attitudes to coming out and telling the truth, they’re wrong
    Julian... should never have been kept in prison for bail. He should not be in prison now awaiting a trial for extradition. He should be released. And I hope that acts like the Belmarsh Tribunal will help to bring that nearer.
  • He has consistently and continuously dared to speak the unspeakable, in the face of opposition, in the face of power. And that is a remarkable and rare thing. That is the reason that Julian Assange sits in prison today... if you do care, as I think you do, you are a criminal of the same category as Julian Assange. In the eyes of the state, what differentiates you, what divides you from him, that is only the degree. We share the same guilt. Each of us share in the crime. And we are unindicted co-conspirators in his quest to raise a lantern in the halls of power.
  • As mainstream news outlets become increasingly complacent, and even supportive of pro-war policies, it becomes more essential that anti-war voices, and anti-war journalists in particular, resist the attempt by the United States to set the precedent that the act of publishing war crimes is a punishable offense. In contrast to publications that take... a careless or outright supportive stance on the irreparable harm of U.S. foreign policy are WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Following his view that “if wars can be started with lies, they can be stopped by truth,” Assange has published some of the most vital information on U.S. foreign policy of the 21st century with perfect accuracy. Some of the information provided to the public (thanks to the anonymous online source submission system developed by Assange) includes the CIA rendition program, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and more. It is this view on publishing which understands war as something to be exposed and resisted that has made Assange such a hated figure by warmongers in the United States....
    Despite the many problems with the mainstream press, journalism as an institution remains one of the most effective methods of resisting, and at times, ending wars. Even those distrustful of the press should be willing to oppose attacks on the right to a free press when such attacks occur. It is the guarantee of press freedom that enables anti-war reporting to make its way into the mainstream at times, shifting people's understanding of what their government does.
  • In contrast to publications that take such a careless or outright supportive stance on the irreparable harm of U.S. foreign policy are WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Following his view that "if wars can be started with lies, they can be stopped by truth," Assange has published some of the most vital information on U.S. foreign policy of the 21st century with perfect accuracy. Some of the information provided to the public (thanks to the anonymous online source submission system developed by Assange) includes the CIA rendition program, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and more. It is this view on publishing which understands war as something to be exposed and resisted that has made Assange such a hated figure by warmongers in the United States.
    However, as every Assange supporter knows, a potential extradition of Assange will not just stop with Assange. The... torture he has endured and a possible extradition and even sentencing under the Espionage Act would enable the U.S. government to do the same to anyone else who exposes the crimes of the U.S. military. Even if the United States cannot successfully imprison every journalist who exposes its crimes, such a precedent would likely scare publications into even greater submission to the state. The desired outcome is the complete neutering of anti-war journalism.
  • The press still has the power to challenge and prevent U.S. wars. However, this power hangs in the balance in the form of Julian Assange's fate. Recent coverage of the Afghanistan withdrawal shows the potential for two types of press. One which sees its role as the mouthpiece for the most war-hungry members of a global empire or one that shows the true nature of war to the public, enabling them to oppose it and giving its victims some justice. For anti-war advocates who would rather see the latter option covering foreign policy, it is essential to show strong support for Julian Assange and demand the charges against him be dropped immediately.
  • A Society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice... the battle for Julian's liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us...I was in the London courtroom when Julian was being tried by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland demanding the sentence before pronouncing the verdict. It was judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Julian in the embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Julian is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.
  • What do Biden and Trump have in common? (Aside from jerking Iran around over the nuclear treaty, proclaiming support for a phony, unelected pretender to the Venezuelan presidency, Juan Guaido, and posturing aggressively toward China?) Both Biden and Trump support the utterly baseless Espionage Act case against journalist and publisher Julian Assange. Make no mistake, this case is a frontal assault on the first amendment. It is also one of the worst attacks on a free press in centuries. But that hasn’t stopped Trump and Biden. With a pusillanimous press quiescent about Assange and unless Biden reverses course, these two presidents will have trashed the ability of journalists to report on military and government abuses. A sword of Damocles hangs over reporters’ heads: reveal leaked material about the U.S. government and you could get slapped into prison, probably in solitary, for 175 years. Trump, now Biden, put that sword there...
    Surprising everyone, the very biased, anti-Assange British judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on January 4 against the U.S. government’s extradition request. This was a rare win for Assange. The U.S. had until February 12 to appeal. Everyone waited with baited breath: would Biden’s justice department drop the case? On February 9 we got the answer – no. The U.S. will continue to try to extradite Assange.
  • The New York Times reported that Assange’s lawyers contend that the U.S. is prosecuting him for political reasons. That is correct. Assange very publicly shamed the U.S. government. And the U.S. government does not stand for humiliation. (Just witness its treatment of Iran for over 40 years because of the hostage crisis.) For that, Assange has been hounded, falsely accused, tortured, prosecuted and threatened with 175 years in prison. The same fate awaited whistleblower Edward Snowden, had he not had the sense to flee to a place the U.S. could not follow, namely Russia.... Had Assange died in Belmarsh prison, or should he, that would be fine with the United States, because there’s one thing the U.S. military and national security state will not tolerate and that is publication of their crimes abroad, in other words, the truth. If he continues to pursue this appalling and unjust case against Assange, Biden will badly tarnish his fledgling administration. He will thus endorse injustice, brutality and lies. And it makes his administration’s talk about freedom of speech and freedom of the media, as something it wants to “project” with regard to countries like China, nothing more than worthless words and hypocrisy.
  • In a stunning decision, a British judge has blocked the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, saying he would not be safe in a U.S. prison due to his deteriorated mental state. In 2019, Assange was indicted in the United States on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The United States has already announced plans to appeal the ruling. Press freedom advocates have campaigned against Assange’s prosecution for years, arguing it would set a dangerous precedent for prosecuting journalists. The blocked extradition due to concern over prison safety rather than press freedom shows that “this is not the end of the road,” says Assange legal adviser Jennifer Robinson. “This is still a terrible precedent.”
    • “Victory for Julian”: U.K. Blocks WikiLeaks Founder Assange Extradition to U.S. on Espionage Charges, Democracy Now, (4 January 2021)
  • I do think that the decision is important and surprising, a very significant victory for Julian Assange... the press freedom implications are more complicated. The judge — while ultimately holding that Assange can’t be extradited to the United States on the basis of his mental health and the conditions under which he would be held if he were extradited here, the judge largely endorses the U.S. prosecution theory. And that theory is based on an indictment that sweeps very, very broadly, that basically the indictment is an effort to hold Assange criminally responsible for acts that journalists engage in all the time.
    And it doesn’t matter whether Assange himself is properly characterized as a journalist. That may be an important debate, but legally it’s completely irrelevant. The important fact is that Assange has been indicted on the grounds that he engaged in activities like cultivating confidential sources, maintaining their confidentiality or maintaining the confidentiality of their identities, and publishing classified secrets. And, of course, those things, all of those things, are integral to national security journalism.
    • Jameel Jaffer in interview with Amy Goodman, “Victory for Julian”: U.K. Blocks WikiLeaks Founder Assange Extradition to U.S. on Espionage Charges, Democracy Now, (4 January 2021)
  • And the press freedom fear here is that the prosecution of Assange, and even the indictment itself, will deter journalism that is important and necessary and that should be regarded as protected by the First Amendment. And I think that this ruling is, again, a victory for Assange, but insofar as it’s an endorsement of the U.S.’s prosecution theory and of the underlying indictment, I think that that indictment is going to continue to cast a kind of shadow over investigative journalism.
    • Jameel Jaffer in interview with Amy Goodman, “Victory for Julian”: U.K. Blocks WikiLeaks Founder Assange Extradition to U.S. on Espionage Charges, Democracy Now, (4 January 2021)

2020 edit

  • Julian #Assange is in solitary, denied visitors. He ordered a radio from the prison catalogue six months ago. A friend also ordered him a radio and the authorities returned it, unopened. Even the Beirut hostages Waite, Keenan and McCarthy listened to a radio. This is torture.
  • That Assange has been right all along, and getting him to Sweden was a fraud to cover an American plan to “render” him, is finally becoming clear to many who swallowed the incessant scuttlebutt of character assassination. “I speak fluent Swedish and was able to read all the original documents,” Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, said recently, “I could hardly believe my eyes. According to the testimony of the woman in question, a rape had never taken place at all. And not only that: the woman’s testimony was later changed by the Stockholm Police without her involvement in order to somehow make it sound like a possible rape. I have all the documents in my possession, the emails, the text messages.” ... WikiLeaks has informed us how illegal wars are fabricated, how governments are overthrown and violence is used in our name, how we are spied upon through our phones and screens. The true lies of presidents, ambassadors, political candidates, generals, proxies, political fraudsters have been exposed. One by one, these would-be emperors have realised they have no clothes. It has been an unprecedented public service; above all, it is authentic journalism, whose value can be judged by the degree of apoplexy of the corrupt and their apologists.
  • The Trump administration is seeking extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial on charges carrying 175 years in prison... The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a “political offense.” Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.
  • WikiLeaks... published nearly 400,000 field reports about the Iraq War, which contained evidence of U.S. war crimes, over 15,000 previously unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and the systematic murder, torture, rape and abuse by the Iraqi army and authorities that were ignored by U.S. forces.
    In addition, WikiLeaks published the Guantánamo Files, 779 secret reports that revealed the U.S. government’s systematic violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, by abusing nearly 800 men and boys, ages 14 to 89.
    One of the most notorious releases by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, which showed a U.S. Army Apache helicopter target and fire on unarmed civilians in Baghdad. More than 12 civilians were killed, including two Reuters reporters and a man who came to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. Then a U.S. Army tank drove over one of the bodies, severing it in half. Those acts constitute three separate war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.

2019 edit

  • The real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.
    Revealing important information about the Yemen war – in which at least 70,000 people have been killed – is the reason why the US government is persecuting both Assange and Zikry.
  • Ecuador has signed a $4.2bn programme with the IMF, signalling a final break by President Lenín Moreno with the policies of his leftist predecessor [Rafael Correa] in a deal that he said saved the country from becoming like Venezuela.  The loan to the Opec country forms part of a larger $10bn package with other multilateral lenders to support Ecuador’s struggling economy, which is burdened by external debt that grew under former president Rafael Correa, in part due to oil-backed loans from China. Over the past two years, Mr Moreno has sought to reform the economy, while also distancing himself from the more controversial political positions of Mr Correa, who ruled Ecuador for a decade. The leftist firebrand, who faces multiple corruption charges in Ecuador and now lives in Belgium, was a close ally of socialist regimes such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia. Notoriously, he gave political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.  The IMF deal comes on the seventh anniversary of Mr Assange’s asylum at the embassy. Ecuador’s extended fund facility with the IMF, which must still be approved by the Washington-based lender’s board...” said... the IMF mission chief to Ecuador. 
  • The former NSA analyst [Edward Snowden] mentioned the fact that Ecuador got $4.2 billion in funds from the International Monetary Fund in early March as a sign the country was getting closer to the West, and in turn more inclined to give up Assange. “Journalists who have been covering the story haven’t really been looking at that, because Julian as an individual is such a tragically flawed figure,” Snowden said. Snowden also criticized people who changed their minds about Assange after the 2016 election.“A lot of Americans now hate Julian,” he said. “Even though the sort of people who are on the center to the left part of the spectrum had been singing his praises during the Bush administration, now they’re on the other side because of his unfortunate political choices in the 2016 elections.”
  • It was meant to be a routine visit by a journalist to another journalist. Instead, I found myself locked in a cold, surveilled room for over an hour by Ecuadorian officials, as a furious argument raged between the country’s ambassador and Julian Assange on Monday. The room was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Julian Assange currently lives under the ostensible protection of political asylum. Yet the WikiLeaks publisher was barred from entering the room, where he was supposed to join me for a pre-approved meeting, because he refused to submit to a full-body search and continuous surveillance.
    The visit to the publisher had, in fact, become eerily similar to visits I have made to inmates at federal penitentiaries in the US. It seemed our government was getting what they wanted from Ecuador, as a former senior State Department official told Buzzfeed in January, “as far as we’re concerned, he’s in jail.”
    Assange, clearly agitated, demands to know “why are you surveilling me speaking to a US journalist? Do you think it’s unreasonable for me to expect privacy when I meet with a journalist? Why are you silent?”
  • Julian [Assange] is a distinguished Australian, who has changed the way many people think about duplicitous governments. For this, he is a political refugee subjected to what the United Nations calls “arbitrary detention”. The UN says he has the right of free passage to freedom, but this is denied. He has the right to medical treatment without fear of arrest, but this is denied. He has the right to compensation, but this is denied. As founder and editor of WikiLeaks, his crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper, no TV channel, no radio station, no BBC, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Guardian can equal. Indeed, it shames them. That explains why he is being punished.
  • The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture. So stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police. War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up, so can you: so can all of us.
  • WikiLeaks is possibly the most exciting development in journalism in my lifetime. As an investigative journalist, I have often had to rely on the courageous, principled acts of whistle-blowers. The truth about the Vietnam War was told when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. The truth about Iraq and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia and many other flashpoints was told when WikiLeaks published the revelations of whistle-blowers.
  • When you consider that 100 percent of WikiLeaks leaks are authentic and accurate, you can understand the impact, as well as the fury generated among secretive powerful forces. Julian Assange is a political refugee in London for one reason only: WikiLeaks told the truth about the greatest crimes of the 21st century. He is not forgiven for that, and he should be supported by journalists and by people everywhere.

2018 edit

  • WikiLeaks has achieved far more than what The New York Times and The Washington Post in their celebrated incarnations did. No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power that Assange and Snowden have disclosed. That both men are fugitives is indicative of the retreat of liberal democracies from principles of freedom and justice. Why is WikiLeaks a landmark in journalism? Because its revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run.
  • Some 300 newspapers, large and small, joined today in publishing... editorials defending the First Amendment’s freedom of the press... their own efforts to combat current threats to that freedom posed by President Trump’s attacks on journalists and the entire Fourth Estate, which Trump routinely denounces in tweets and at rallies as “enemies of the people.”
  • However, missing from most of these full-throated editorials is any real defense of those who are in the trenches doing the hardest job of a free press, which is exposing the worst offenses of government: the war crimes, the craven systemic corruption of the political system, and the purveying of propaganda and disinformation in the furtherance of anti-democratic policies.
  • Nowhere does one read.. a condemnation of the five-year torture and pursuit of [alternative media] journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the London embassy of Ecuador... His real crime, and the thing the US wants... him...for, is publishing leaked Pentagon documents and videotapes proving a policy in the Iraq war of massive and deliberate war crimes...Because a press freedom is under serious attack these days, certainly by President Trump, but also by a corporate media itself that supports a censored internet and a two-tiered access to high-speed internet — both of which measures threaten alternative news media — and that fail to firmly support and defend the whistleblowers who often are critically important in bringing urgent stories of government and corporate wrongdoing to light.

Chris Hedges: Crucifying Julian Assange, TruthDig, (12 November 2018) edit

Nov 12, 2018 Online at truthdig.com
  • Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized. A leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch dated March 8, 2008, exposed a black propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks and Assange... to destroy the "feeling of trust" that is WikiLeaks' "center of gravity" and blacken Assange’s reputation. It largely has worked...
  • The Democratic Party— seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian "interference" rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate — attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime....
  • WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections...And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the American public by the government, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow...
  • What is happening to Assange should terrify the press...The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.... Assange is on his own. Each day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free press.

2009-2016 edit

  • He not only is one of the few authentic heroes of our time, he also has shown to all of us how to be a hero today and that it is possible to be a hero today.
  • The world we live in is ruled by insiders...insiders do not tell outsiders the truth, and they do not turn against other insiders... Julian... created the technology that allowed the outsiders to get a glimpse within... and this is why he's being persecuted... He's been accused of a crime for which he's never been charged, that turns progressives against feminists and feminists against progressives. This attempt by the establishment to turn progressives against themselves... to prosecute someone who has... revealed their crimes is a heinous crime in itself..."
  • I have just watched We Steal Secrets, Alex Gibney’s documentary about Wikileaks and Julian Assange. One useful thing I learnt is the difference between a hatchet job and character assassination. Gibney is too clever for a hatchet job, and his propaganda is all the more effective for it. The film’s contention is that Assange is a natural-born egotist... This could have made for an intriguing, and possibly plausible, thesis had Gibney approached the subject-matter more honestly and fairly. But two major flaws discredit the whole enterprise... The first is that he grievously misrepresents the facts in the Swedish case against Assange... to the point that his motives in making the film are brought into question... So the question is why would he choose to mislead the audience?... his dishonesty relates not to an avoidance of facts and evidence but to his choice of emphasis...This documentary could have been a fascinating study of the moral quandaries faced by whistleblowers in the age of the surveillance super-state. Instead Gibney chose the easy course and made a film that sides with the problem rather than the solution.
  • A legitimate, registered, multi award-winning media organisation and its editor have legally published the truth about the biggest superpower in the world and embarrassed them and exposed them for wrongdoing - war crimes, corruption and fraud...The whole exercise has been set up to smear and silence the truth and those countries with their snouts in the trough with America have fallen into line. Ecuador, whose snout isn't in the trough, has not fallen into line.
  • Wikileaks' Julian Assange is providing ammunition to those who believe that the fragile new world of cybersecurity demands a more flexible approach to the rules of engagement.
  • [Preparations for Assange's 40th birthday party] I'm not sure who else is going, but the initial invitation did not give train information, but did tell you where to land your private plane.
  • A dead man can't leak stuff. This guy's a traitor, a treasonist, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be — And I'm not for the death penalty, so if I'm not for the death penalty, there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.
  • I knew years before the Pentagon Papers came out that the Americans were being lied in to an essentially hopeless war. I’m not proud of the fact that it didn’t occur to me that my oath of office, which was to support the Constitution, called on me to put that information out and say, ‘64, when the war might have been avoided. But I certainly am glad that I finally came aware of what my real responsibilities were there. And I did put it out years later. At times, at that time, which published it, the “Times,” and the 18 other newspapers, which defied President Nixon’s injunctions and did put it out, were in the position of Julian Assange is in now.
  • His skills as a cryptographer led him to becoming one of the architects of the WikiLeaks model, but as Gavin MacFadyen, the director of the Centre of Investigative Journalism and a friend of his, points out, there's something almost old-fashioned about his particular brand of committed idealism. "We don't really see people like him any more. In the 60s and 70s, they were around. Those who are totally committed and passionate about what they're doing. But not after 20 years of Thatcherism... There's no doubt he's an inspirational figure...probably the most intelligent person I've ever worked with" ... When you interview Assange, this seems like an understatement. He is at least five steps ahead. Probably more... he told the New Yorker, what appealed to him about computers was their austerity: "It is like chess – chess is very austere, in that you don't have many rules, there is no randomness, and the problem is very hard.".. Combat, intellectual combat, seems to be his stimulant of choice. It just fuels him.
  • Assange’s attorney has promised that if anything happens to his client, WikiLeaks will release a “nuclear bomb” of even more damaging information … If Assange sincerely believes that he needs to blackmail the U.S. government into refraining from assassinating him, he is delusional as well as conceited. Assange’s supporters ought to be upset by the revelation that the supposed champion of transparency has deliberately been holding the good stuff back. After all, authentic whistle-blowers would release the most damaging information at the beginning — not withhold it as a bargaining chip to intimidate prosecutors.
  • Assange's thoughts often have this tone of cerebral sangfroid, even when the subject is violence and death. Politically, he appears to be an ultra-libertarian, but with a mathematician's analytical bent.
    • Guilliatt, Richard (May 30, 2009). "Searching for Assange". The Australian Magazine (Nationwide News Pty Limited): p. 15. 

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