Cenk Uyger interviews Julian Assange (transcript)

Quelle: MSNBC’s „The Dylan Ratigan Show“ Dec. 21, 2010

*** interesting parts transcipted ***

Min. 00:57 — Alright, first question I have for you Julian is, do you consider yourself a member of the press, are you a journalist?

Min. 01:21 — „Quite interesting that this is something that is being raised. It’s actually a quite deliberate atempt to split off our organization from the First Amendment protections that are afforded to all publishers.

Min. 02:26 — Some of those journalists have fallen for that. And why? Because they’re worried that they’re going to be next. They believe that if they sell us out, if they say, well, he’s not really a journalist, they can have the U.S. — have the Washington authorities target us and destroy us and somehow steer clear of the crossfire, which they worry will — will scatter out through all journalists. But I have a message to them. They’re going to be next. And we’re seeing these statements that „The New York Times“ is, you know, also looked at, in terms of whether it has engaged in what they call conspiracy to commit espionage. So, us journalists and publishers and writers, we all have to stick together to resist this sort of reinterpretation of the First Amendment, this attempt to use the 1917 Espionage Act, something that was put in place in the middle, eh, towards the end of World War 1, in the middle of the US involvment of WWI, to stop bona fide espionage. Now we got this antiquated act that they are trying to apply to publishers, arguably unconstitutional. But that will take many years to get through the court and in the meantime what happens? In the meantime we have our people harassed, we have calls to apply this to other newspapers. (…)“

Min. 04:15 — And do you think the media have pulled together? Or do you think that large portions of whether its the american media or the international media have abandoned you and not coming to your defense when people in government are calling you a high-tech terrorist?

Min. 05:16 — „We have seen a number of the mainstream press rightly stepping forward and understanding that there has to be a line drawn in the sand, that this erosion of the First Amendment must be stopped, and so iam quite hopeful about it, and i think people are seeing that it is going too far. You know, always in this sort of situation you have an institution like the state department connected with military contractors, an institution like the pentagon, an institution like the CIA, able to respond fairly quickly, and get its agenda up fairly quickly, because they are organized, they have a chain of command, they have internal email communication systems, they have existing contacts with the press, they spent an enormous amount of money on PR, so they are able to get their message out quickly. But, the reality is that a large sway of the population sees things differently. (…) As time goes by, the large number of people, the silent majority, start to become organized. And thats what we have seen over the last two or so weeks, the gradual organization of the silent majority to resist a new type of tyranny, a new type of privatized censorship, a new type of digital McCarthyism that is being pushed from Washington. People don’t like it, around the world people don’t like it! They don’t like it in the U.S. especially, because of these good First Amendment revolutionary traditions about the rights and freedoms of all people to criticize and open up their government.“

Min: 09:42 — How do you respond to Sarah Palin, a top Republican leader who might run for president again, saying that you are like al Qaeda and the Taliban and he — you should be pursued with the same urgency?

Min. 10:24 — Does the United States obey the rule of law? Because Europeans are starting to wonder whether it is still obeying the rule of law? And it needs to be very careful. Is it going to descend into an anarchy where we don’t have due process, where those great Bill of Rights traditions about due process are just thrown to the wind, when — whenever some shock jock politician thinks that they can use it to make a name for themselves? Or do we take things according to laws expressly made by the people and their representatives? That is the way things should be done. And — and when people call for illegal, deliberate assassination and kidnapping of others, they should be held to account. They should be charged for incitement to commit murder.

Min. 11:55 — Do you think Private Manning is a hero and do you think the american government is treating him wrong by keeping him in isolation for so long?

Min. 13:08 — „He has been a political prisoner without trial in the U.S. for some six or seven months. Thats a serious business, human right organizations should be investigating the conditions under which he is held and is there a really due process there. Now we recently heard calls, to try and to set up a plea deal with Bradley Manning to testify against me, personally. To say that we engage insome kind of conspiracy to commit espionage. Absolute nonsense, absolute nonsense! Thats not how our technology works, thats not how our organization works. I never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media. But, actually mainstream journalist in the U.S., mainstream investigative journalists, how do they operate when they investigate in a story? They do actually ring up at their sources and say: Do you have anything on this? That is how they operate. And if they are going to push the line that when a newspaper man talks to someone in the government about looking for things relating potential abuses that that is a conspiracy to commit espionage, then thats going to take out all the good government journalism that occurs in the U.S. (…) They need to understand another thing. That in this case of Bradley Manning, his conditions have been getting worse and worse and worse in his cell, as they attempt to pressure him into testifying against me. That’s a serious problem.“

Merry Christmas!

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