Skip to content

They came first for WikiLeaks, and I didn’t speak up because I was told they weren’t really journalists

In his first TV interview since being released from jail, Julian Assange makes several very strong points:

First, Assange makes the point that WikiLeaks is a legitimate part of the media, and if people think they can avoid government attack by not defending WikiLeaks they don’t understand history:

They believe that if they sell us out, if they say, well he’s not really a journalist, they can have the Washington authorities target us and destroy us and somehow steer clear of the crossfire. … but I have a message to them: they’re going to be next.

Next, he responds to people who accuse him of being a terrorist. Even the Pentagon has admitted that there has been no physical harm done to any people exposed by WikiLeaks, so how is he a terrorist? And the people calling for him to be assassinated (or “illegally murdered” as was said on Fox News), aren’t they terrorists since they are using violence or the threat of violence to achieve political ends? It is even worse when elected officials in the US call for his execution. “What sort of message does that send about the rule of law in the United States?”

And finally, Assange points out that the US government has been holding accused whistleblower Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for months (which according to some human rights activists is psychological torture), while at the same time trying to cut a plea deal with Manning to testify against Assange.

This is justice? This is what America stands for? Does the rest of the world laugh when we claim that our enemies hate us because of our freedoms?



  1. patriotsgt wrote:

    Assange is no saint. He illegally aquired stolen documents and stays outside US jurisdiction. As far as threats against his life, absolutely that is wrong and anyone who seriously promotes that needs to questioned by the FBI for conspiracy to commit murder.

    On the Bradley Manning issue here’s my take. He is in deep doo doo. Military justice is different then civilian justice. In the military I can have a subordinate charged for “rolling their eyes” or looking away whe I speak to them. If their body language does not show respect they can be charged. Understand that first. Now look at it from the perspective of he illegally copied classified documents, not 1 but 250,000. He did this with the intent to harm knowing full well they would be published for the world. Whether their is actual damage or not will only serve to mitigate his sentence from something like life, to a lesser number of years.
    Now here’s the kicker, Assange feels sorry for the guy, why? Because Assange talked him into giving him the Docs and probably said that he would help him or he wouldn’t get that much time because Assange is a very important person. He probably told him (in exchange for the docs) that powerful friends and contributors would rescue him and raise millions for his defense and so on. Assange is a real angel alright, he talked this boy into throwing away his life so he could become famous and get laid in sweden.

    Thats my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink
  2. Sammy wrote:

    Why couldn’t Wikileaks’ publisher be a less creepy, less arrogant tool?

    As for Manning, do we even know the “why”, Patriot? I think you may be making some assumptions there. Did Assange approach Manning or was it the other way around? What, exactly, could Assange have offered. It’s not as if his website is a real money generator?

    And the most important unanswered question of all: if this information is so secret, so important, so classified, why was it this easy to leak?

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  3. patriotsgt wrote:

    I am making my remarks based on assumptions, but with a fairly solid understanding of human nature. Manning acted for either of 3 reasons IMO: he desired to get back at the gov or army, thought he’d get famous and cash in, or he was sooo concerned about the horrific atrocities that he had to leak it.
    As I know there are not many other reasons to commit a crime like he did. Since most agree what was leaked was not that devestating or unknown for the most part and there is no indication via web note or previous information that he was “mad at the USA or Army”. Then there can be only one logical choice. I understand that unlike a civilian investigation the military usually does not hold press conferences about their proceedings, so we’ll have to wait on that. Maybe there will be some compelling info that changes my opinion of the situation. I do not know how Manning and Assange communicated, but would assume it was the PFC contacting Wiki and saying he could get alot of secret info if they wanted. My guess would also include that Assange strung him along and perhaps made some promises he couldn’t keep. Either way Manning did not likely care or read most of the info before sending to Wiki, so in that regard he now finds himself in deep. He may be in solitary for his own protection, i’m not sure.

    As to the so secret, so important question, it turns out the info wasn’t that revealing, but it was classified non the less. So in the military it is an offense punishable under the UCMJ. If he had asked permission, and the Army agreed to declassify it he’d be having latte’s with Julian.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Wow, that’s a LOT of assumptions, and are mostly likely way wrong.

    If you had watched the video or read anything about WikiLeaks, you would know that their site is anonymous. Someone who wants to leak a document sends them in a way that WikiLeaks does not know who the sender is (and cannot figure it out). This is pretty common technology on the internet. Assange claims (although he could be lying of course) that he did not know Manning’s name until it was published in the paper, and he has no way of knowing if it was Manning who submitted the cables. So it is entirely likely that Manning and Assange have never communicated. At the very least, the only way Assange would know Manning’s name is if Manning had contacted him personally, which is not easy to do.

    As for the comment about Assange being creepy or arrogant, the only reason you have heard about WikiLeaks is because Assange is good at getting publicity for himself. There are other whistleblower organizations — have you heard of them? Do you pay attention to their leaks?

    And last but not least, the cables are being scrubbed for names and are being released slowly, so we do not actually know how revealing they are. We have only seen a small number of them.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
  5. Sammy wrote:

    IK, my comments about him being creepy and arrogant are based solely on interviews I’ve seen with him. I can’t point to specifics; it’s more of a feeling I get when I see him in interviews. I just instantly dislike him personally (inasmuch as one can dislike someone they’ve never met). Much the same way some people I’ve never met “seem” likable to me (Tony Gwynn, Denzel Washington, Iron Knee).

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  6. Bard wrote:

    I’m going to guess the reason he comes off creepy is that he sounds like every British villain that’s ever been in a movie.

    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 3:36 am | Permalink
  7. wew49 wrote:

    Is this the interview where Assange compares himself to Martin L. King? Also, what he’s going thru is like the persecution of the Jews? The man has a problem even if you forget about the charges against him.

    Know who else is in jail? The sap who hacked Palin’s email account & handed the goods over to Assange. A year’s sentence. Nice racket the guys got. You do the time leakers and I’ll get all the glory. Don’t think he’s the one being persecuted.

    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 5:50 am | Permalink
  8. Bard wrote:

    My memory is so-so, but the guy who “hacked” (and really, he didn’t hack anything, Yahoo had a poor password reset system) Palin’s email account posted the contents to 4Chan, not to wikileaks.

    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink
  9. patriotsgt wrote:

    Well IK as usual you brought to light more info and thusly shot my assumptions in the butt. Time will tell if their was any negotiation between Wiki and Manning.
    If it turns out there was none and Manning conceived and executed this deal all on his own, it bodes even worse for him. His chance, at “being manipulated” by wiki, to mitigate the charges would be gone and he’d shoulder the complete burden.
    Also there is a Norwegian news company that just purchased or were given all the documents. So now they’re are I think 6 news orgs that have some to all of the docs (NY Times being one).

    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink