Julian Assange: The May 2011 RT Interview – “Facebook is the most appalling spying machine” [RT / Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives]]

Posted in light of the Snowden NSA revelations. – Zuo Shou

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Facebook ain’t your friend. From the facile and shallow way it connects people to the awesome power it gives authorities to monitor and surveille, Facebook is a technology born not in the hallways of emancipation and freedom but in the byways of power and control. Or at least, that’s what Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks thinks and frankly, I tend to agree. Never before in this history of this planet have so many been monitored by so few with so little responsible oversight.” – Dr. Michael Sosteric, “Facebook is a Spy Machine” [http://www.sociology.org/lead/facebook-spy-machine]

“WikiLeaks revelations only tip of iceberg – Assange”

May 2, 2011

([Apparent] transcript of video interview by Laura Emmett)

The man behind WikiLeaks says his website’s revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. In an exclusive interview with RT, Julian Assange said it is only a matter of time before more damaging information becomes known.

he publication of confidential cables proved deeply embarrassing for the US and other countries.

“If we look at our work over the last 12 moths, think about that. All these stories that have come out actually happened in the world, before 2010, but people didn’t know about it. So what is it that we don’t know about now? There’s an enormous hidden world out there that we don’t know about. It exists there right now.”

Assange claims the data released by WikiLeaks is not even the most important and calls on people not to believe that the information they receive from the media is all that is happening.

“We only released secret, classified, confidential material. We didn’t have any top secret cables. The really embarrassing stuff, the really serious stuff wasn’t in our collection to release. But it is still out there.”

RT: Julian, thank you for talking to RT…social networking, what role, do you think, sites like Facebook and Twitter, have played in the revolutions [sic] in the Middle East? How easy, would you say, is it to manipulate media like that?

JA: Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo – all these major US organizations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence. It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for US intelligence to use.

Now, is it the case that Facebook is actually run by US intelligence? No, it’s not like that. It’s simply that US intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure on them. And it’s costly for them to hand out records one by one, so they have automated the process. Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them.

RT: OK, let’s talk about other latest WikiLeaks cables that have been released. They show the UK as a haven for extremism, with at least 35 Guantanamo detainees having at least passed through the UK. Is the UK still a haven for terrorists?

JA: You know it has been a haven for terrorists, and it is certainly a haven for oligarchs and former regime dictators that have come here. I mean, remember the famous Pinochet trial for the extradition of Pinochet from the UK, which Thatcher resisted – incredibly, using a lawyer that is involved in trying to extradite me from the United Kingdom. Now, part of that is, perhaps, good. It’s an example of true liberalism in the United Kingdom: everyone come here, and we’ll protect you. On the other hand, there does seem to be a disconnect. Is it really supporting free-speech activists like me who come to the UK?…

RT: The Guantanamo information… why has WikiLeaks released it now? I mean it seems sort of to be after the fact. Is it because Obama has recently announced his re-election campaign and obviously closing Guantanamo was one of his main election promises?

JA: There is a number of reasons why we released it now. The primary one is that we are a small organization, although a very committed one. Last year we came under extraordinary attack. All these things continue to go on. And so they’ve really dampened down our ability to move quickly and publish quickly.

The timing is good. Obama has given up on closing Guantanamo and has decided to re-open the trial process. And we now have a situation where even the Obama administration says that 48 of those people still in Guantanamo are completely innocent and they should be sent somewhere, and they are not being sent anywhere. So, completely innocent people are incarcerated for years and years and years with no trial and no hope of relief. No country would agree to house them, including the United States. But the United States has made them its problem.

The United States was involved in rounding up these innocent people, setting up a process that was from the very beginning corrupt. There is a reason why they are in Guantanamo and not on the US mainland and not in an allied country. And that reason was to hide them and to keep them outside of the law. Just like you have Caribbean islands engaged in money laundering, the United States is engaged in people laundering.

RT:Let me talk about your media partners, one of which is The Guardian, with whom you’re now involved in a dispute. But you chose them as your primary English-language partner for distributing the WikiLeaks cables. And now Guardian journalists have published this book on WikiLeaks, which you say is an attack on you. How would you describe, following that, The Guardian’s stance on whistleblowing and media freedom in general?

JA: They are a publishing organization, and so, of course, they want as much rights over publishing them as possible, that’s a natural self-interest. What they have done with this cable-cooking in this incredible over-redaction of cables is they have pushed the right of the people to know to the very, very edge. And what they are concerned about is any possible attack on them.

But we have seen this sort of abuse of the material that we have provided several times. The Guardian is the worst offender, but we saw it also by The New York Times…

…What happens in the West is that there is no border between state interest and commercial interest. The edges of the state, as a result of privatization, are fuzzed and blurred out into the edges of companies. So, when you look at how The Guardian behaves, or how The New York Times behaves, it is part of that mesh of corporate and state interests seamlessly blurring into each other. The Guardian is concerned predominantly about being criticized by these powerful interests, about lawsuits against it driven by oligarchs, driven by people powerful enough to push a court case forward…

…RT: And finally, Julian, who do you consider to be your No. 1 enemy?

JA: 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. It’s only when you start to understand that you can make effective decisions and effective plans. Now, the question is, who is promoting ignorance? Well, those organizations that try to keep things secret, and those organizations which distort true information to make it false or misrepresentative. In this latter category, it is bad media.

It really is my opinion that media in general are so bad that we have to question whether the world wouldn’t be better off without them altogether. They are so distortive to how the world actually is that the result is… we see wars, and we see corrupt governments continue on.

One of the hopeful things that I’ve discovered is that nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies. The media could’ve stopped it if they had searched deep enough; if they hadn’t reprinted government propaganda they could’ve stopped it. But what does that mean? Well, that means that basically populations don’t like wars, and populations have to be fooled into wars. Populations don’t willingly, with open eyes, go into a war. So if we have a good media environment, then we also have a peaceful environment.

RT: Thank you very much.

Excerpted; full interview/article link: http://rt.com/news/wikileaks-revelations-assange-interview/

On the prescience of perceiving Facebook as “Big Brother’s” spying tool, see also the Feb. 2012 article “Facebook is a surveillance engine, not friend: Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation” [The Economic Times] – http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-02-07/news/31034052_1_facebook-users-mark-zuckerberg-richard-stallman

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