Friday, December 03, 2010

Julian Assange interview transcript

The Guardian has been kind enough to post a transcript of Julian Assange's recent chat/interview with Guardian readers:

Julian Assange answers your questions: The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, answers readers' questions about the release of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables

Definitely worth a look. Of particular interest:

Annoying as it may be, the DDoS seems to be good publicity (if anything, it adds to your credibility). So is getting kicked out of AWS. Do you agree with this statement? Were you planning for it?
Thank you for doing what you are doing.

Julian Assange:
Since 2007 we have been deliberately placing some of our servers in jurisdictions that we suspected suffered a free speech deficit in order to separate rhetoric from reality. Amazon was one of these cases.

In other words, they picked as a server precisely because they felt it's public position on free speech issues was more posturing and PR than reality. And yesterday, this proved to be correct. Ouch.


I'll start the ball rolling with a question. You're an Australian passport holder - would you want return to your own country or is this now out of the question due to potentially being arrested on arrival for releasing cables relating to Australian diplomats and polices?

Julian Assange:
I am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal. However, during the last weeks the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the attorney general, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return is impossible but that they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people. This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian citizen - does that mean anything at all?

On the less sunny side, however, when pressed on the question of whether the recent leak will be responsible for essentially messing up diplomatic relations between nations, Assange responds:

If you trim the vast editorial letter to the singular question actually asked, I would be happy to give it my attention.

Granted, the question was rather lengthy--in fact, I decided not to post it here because of that. However, it would have been quite interesting to read an on-point response from Assange, rather than what amounts to an evasion, as evidenced by the fact that at least one other question was roughly the same length, and he answered that one just fine.

The question of him being wanted in Sweden for "sex crimes" is also neglected, although apparently because no one bothered to ask about it. Overall, though, the transcript is well worth reading.



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