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By the time I come to talk to Assange, his very last interview of the week, the backlash is in full swing. "Have you seen this?" he says waving a copy of the Times at me. "Have you seen how much bull# this is? Have you seen page 13? Do you think I should call [the libel law firm] Carter-Ruck?
"It would be a bit silly for me but I'm tempted to. Just look at the headlines and the photo. What's the imputation?"
There's a photo of Assange below a headline that reads "'Taliban hitlist' row: WikiLeaks founder says he did right thing". And next to the photo, another headline reading "Named man is already dead." The imputation is quite clearly that Assange's actions have resulted in the man's death, although in the story itself it makes it clear that he actually died two years ago.
"Is it clear?" says Assange. "Let's see how much we have to read before we reach that information. It's not in the first paragraph, second, third, fourth, it's not in the fifth. It's not until the sixth paragraph you learn that."
The Times had splashed on its front page the claims that there are named Afghan sources in the files whose lives are now in danger. It's pure "self-interest", he says, designed to undermine the Guardian, the Observer's sister paper and one of three publications to publish stories based on the files, the others being the New York Times and Der Spiegel. "You can see that this is coming down from editorial, not up from journalism."
"If there are innocent Afghans being revealed, which was our concern, which was why we kept back 15,000 files, then of course we take that seriously."
But what if it's too late?
"Well, we will review our procedures."
Too late for the individuals, I say. Dead.
"Well, anything might happen but nothing has happened. And 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."
"This material was available to every soldier and contractor in Afghanistan …It's the US military that deserves the blame for not giving due diligence to its informers."
There's a school of thought, to which a leading article in the Times gave voice, that he is playing a dangerous game. He says he hasn't read it, so I quote a chunk: "The sanctimonious piety of the man is sickening."
"Oh sure," he says. "Because it would be better to be a ruthless media mogul just in it for the money. That would be then be acceptable. We can't actually have people doing something for moral reasons. It's only acceptable if we do it just for the money."
When I try to question him about the morality of what he's done, if he worries about unleashing something that he can't control, that no one can control, he tells me the story of the Kenyan 2007 elections when a WikiLeak document "swung the election".
The leak exposed massive corruption by Daniel Arap Moi, and the Kenyan people sat up and took notice. In the ensuing elections, in which corruption became a major issue, violence swept the country. "1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak," says Assange. It's a chilling statistic, but then he states: "On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information and 40,000 children a year die of malaria in Kenya. And many more die of money being pulled out of Kenya, and as a result of the Kenyan shilling being debased."
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." "We do not have national security concerns. We have concerns about human beings,"
Originally posted by ~Lucidity
reply to post by LarryLove
Larry, you did a good job on this yourself here.
What's more interesting to me too is which MSM outlet is reporting what and how. That shows us how they're aligning on this matter and who might be their masters. Weird as that may sound.
Props to you both.
[edit on 8/1/2010 by ~Lucidity]
Originally posted by intjus01
Anyone have any thoughts on the mysterious "insurance" file that has shown up on the Wikileaks site?
Not sure what to make of it.