Julian Assange: No More Secrets, No More Lies
February 18, 2017
A controversional figure and divisive subject.
For some, an intense, driven and valiant campaigner for transparency, the democratization of information and justice when it comes to what governments should and should not do, enabling the public to be the judge.
Publicity seeking traitor endangering lives by putting sensitive information into the public domain to others.
Assange is the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, a web-based dead letterbox for leakers, which started publishing confidential documents and images, in 2006.
WikiLeaks came to global prominence and made headlines around the world in April 2010, when it released footage showing US soldiers shooting civilians from a helicopter in Iraq, what became known as the Collateral Murder video and Afghanistan war logs, ultimately triggering the United States government launching a criminal investigation and asking allied nations for assistance.
Later that year, he was detained in the UK after Sweden issued an international arrest warrant over allegations of sexual assault. He spent the following months fighting extradition while under house arrest in England.
Westminster Magistrates' Court approved the extradition in February 2011 and this was later upheld by the High Court.
On 14 June 2012, the UK Supreme Court dismissed his application to re-open the appeal.
Subsequently, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he remains after being granted political asylum by the South American country since August 2012.
He fears being extradited from Sweden to the US and put on trial for releasing secret US documents. He has been holed up in the embassy ever since as he will be arrested once he leaves.
The material published by WikiLeaks since its inception includes transcripts of private speeches made by Hillary Clinton in 2013 and 2014, leading to the accusation of abetting the candidacy of Donald J. Trump.
The conversation with Assange proved that is acutely aware that whatever he and his organisations do, prompts the public to stigmatize him as pro-this or contra-that, yet emphasized that he has no institutional bias and that he perceives it as his role and mission to take on abusers of power. He considers resulting, ensuing controversies as collateral damage worth engaging in.
Despite the mounting legal and political pressure coming from Washington, he continues to publish in a bid to reveal not just individual incidents, but information about entire structures of power.
His ultimate aim is not to show glimpses by releasing documents but to fully unveil mechanisms, hierarchies and supporting, underlying economic forces that sustain it. Metaphorically speaking: Showing the constellations, not merely the stars in isolation to allow the public to read and make sense of the night sky.
WikiLeaks has been accused of not curating content and therefore picking and choosing material solely to harm their adversaries.
Assange explained that he believes in the integrity of uncensored source material, which is based on having a secure anonymous online submission system to protect the sources’ identities, and in the value of conserving collections of documents, which informs WikiLeaks efforts to make it accessible to the public.
He underlined that WikiLeaks has a solid track record of having released accurate information – an impressive feat given that WikiLeaks has transformed more than 10 million documents into a unique searchable archive, not only making their website the world’s largest online library for suppressed information, but also enabling greater contextualization through relationships across publications.
Assange, in his usual composed and eloquent manner, challenged the audience from all political leanings to take serious consideration of journalistic freedom and the implications of a silenced media: Silence is consent and ignorance – be it willing or unwilling – will only lead to someone else taking reign and deciding over you.
The evening was hosted by the Australian comedian and member of the satirical media empire The Chaser, whose cultivated inquisitiveness and curiosity steered the conversation. He seamlessly transitioned from delving into intricate and complex topics to trivia about Assange’s life and routine at the Ecuadorian embassy, including a cameo of his cat.
The engaging event culminated in a Q & A from audience members and successfully bridged the gap between inquisitive voices from the public and Assange through dialogue and discourse, which has somewhat become the DNA of Think Inc. in its endeavours to provoke thought and to address the issues of changes that need to be made.
Photo by T
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