carl guderian on Wed, 4 Jan 2017 11:34:10 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Guardian's Summary of Julian Assange's Interview

Hi all,

I read the La Repubblica interview. The Guardian certainly took liberties with it, but Assange doesn't come off any better in the full interview. 

Assange implies that Russia doesn't really need a Wikileaks because of competition from the "...many vibrant publications, online blogs, and Kremlin critics such as [Alexey] Navalny...". Well, Navalny has been under house arrest for 2 years, with a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head at least through next June, for possibly framed for embezzlement charges. The US has had a plethora of critics of Obama and Hillary, from both the right and the left, yet they somehow needed an assist from Wikileaks.

And " WikiLeaks staff speak Russian?" Please. I reckon Ukrainians would be jumping at the chance to translate Russian dirt.

Assange says, by way of balance, that Wikileaks has released hundreds of thousands of documents mentioning Putin. But how many were *leaked* from Putin or any of his friends?.

The above Atlantic Monthly article suggests that six years ago, Russia made Assange and the Wikileaks crew an offer they couldn't refuse. If they ever release anything out of Russia now, it'll likely be kompromat on Putin's enemies. The article goes on to note that they did exactly that in  Belarus, whose leader Lukashenka used the information after the 2010 election there to jail the losing candidate. Likewise with Trump. As much as he benefited from Assange in his campaign, as President he won't be so sanguine if Wikileaks puts his business in the street. Anyone looking to do so would be well-advised to think hard about submitting anything to Wikileaks.

The AM article largely lets Assange, Snowden and Greenwald speak for themselves. Their respective views have evolved, of course, but Assange's phiosophical journey from his chatroom days seems to have been a short one, while Greenwald seems to brought his courtroom experience to bear on defending Putin and prosecuting critics. 

All three are small-time players who thought they lucked into the big game and now find themselves way out of their depth. They could insult and injure a US intelligence community that, since the (US Senate) Church Committee hearings of 1975, had (largely) cleaned up its act. In retaliation, the Feds could harass their friends but had shied from moving directly against them, up to now. Should either Assange or Greenwald go off-message after Jan. 20, Trump will test those constraints. Russia under Putin has never had any limits. They poisoned an apostate KGB agent in London and got away with it. They'd pop a Ricin cap in Julian's ass without a second thought; Ecuadorian sovereignty be damned. I suspect Snowden understands this by now.

Thanks, Julian (and Snowden and Greenwald) for saving the US from a beige dictatorship. You may have cleared the way toward a more traditional one instead. Nice one. Enjoy your "independence" and the thanks of a grateful nation.

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