It’s only recently re-emerged on the internet, but a lengthy 2011 interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is worth watching if you’re trying to filter through the propaganda maze that now follows the Australian publisher everywhere he goes. Or doesn’t go, more to the point.
The story was broadcast on America’s 60 Minutes program shortly after Assange was placed under house arrest by British authorities, acting on behalf of Swedish prosecutors, but before he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy.
In other words, it was published before the full weight of the smear campaign that engulfed him had taken affect.
It’s worth watching for a few notable reasons: firstly, it documents Assange as a clear, calm and concise public figure who is seeking to fearlessly shed light on powerful truths hidden by even more powerful interests.
It also notes that the approach Assange and Wikileaks took in the early days – broadscale publishing of state secrets – wasn’t without it’s problems, a fact acknowledged by Assange. His explanation, however, is cogent and clever.
Most notably, it forecasts that the only way Assange will end up in the hands of American authorities, without also ensnaring other media organisations like the New York Times (which published many of the Wikileaks releases) is if investigators can prove that Assange didn’t just receive information, that he actively engaged in a conspiracy to obtain it.
That is the allegation Assange is now facing – that he ‘conspired’ with whistleblower Chelsea Manning to access secret US government information.
The basis of those allegations appears to be razor thin, but regardless, this interview is a timely reminder of who has been locked up, why, and what he believed before he was arbitrarily detained, and unceremoniously dumped by mainstream media who benefited from so much of his work.
It’s an interview particularly worth passing on to those who have swallowed the Cool-Aid smear about Assange.
UPDATE: One other point worth noting (as brought to our attention by a reader – thank you Julie), this very interview was the subject of a subsequent leak to Wikileaks. You can read the email to and from Hilary Clinton here, however long story short, a staffer to Clinton (who was serving as Secretary of State at the time), writes to tell her that 60 Minutes were approached with names of other they should interview, to ensure “balance” (and yes, they included balance in quotes!) before assuring Clinton that 60 Minutes had asked questions which Clinton’s office “planted” in the interview. Notwithstanding the fact the story is actually, by mainstream media standards, quite good, the irony doesn’t really get much greater, nor does the case for publishers like Assange.
Donate To New Matilda
New Matilda is a small, independent media outlet. We survive through reader contributions, and never losing a lawsuit. If you got something from this article, giving something back helps us to continue speaking truth to power. Every little bit counts.