WikiLeaks and ‘the glory days of American radicalism’
Rolling Stone has published a new interview with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, conducted by Michael Hastings. Here are some notable excerpts:
“From the glory days of American radicalism, which was the American Revolution, I think that Madison’s view on government is still unequaled,” he tells me during the three days I spend with him as he settles into his new location in England. “That people determined to be in a democracy, to be their own governments, must have the power that knowledge will bring – because knowledge will always rule ignorance. You can either be informed and your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you. The question is, where has the United States betrayed Madison and Jefferson, betrayed these basic values on how you keep a democracy? I think that the U.S. military-industrial complex and the majority of politicians in Congress have betrayed those values.”
…The United States has historically been a relatively open society. But within the United States, there is a shadow state, and that is the U.S. military, which, as of September, held 4.3 million security clearances. That is equal to the population of New Zealand. That is a closed, totalitarian society that gathers and stores more information than any other society in the world.
And when asked who his most critical supporters have been, Assange gave this response:
John Pilger, the Australian journalist, has been the most impressive. And the other is Dan Ellsberg. It’s the amount of time I’ve spent with him, both in front of and behind the scenes. When people are working in front of the scenes, in public, it is often because it is helpful to them. One never really knows what the true allegiance is. But when someone puts it on the line both publicly and privately, that’s a sign of true character. Ron Paul did come out and make an impassioned and rational speech. It has not been the soft liberal left, the pseudo left that has defended us. In fact, they have run a mile. It has been strong activists who have a long record of fighting for what they believe in, both on the libertarian right and on the left.