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EXCLUSIVO: Julian Assange habla de WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Cypherpunks y el Estado vigilante 1/2

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This is Democracy Now!, the war and peace report, I am Amy Goodman. And I am Juan González, welcome to all our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world. Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, may testify today at a pretrial proceeding for the first time since he was arrested in May 2010. Manning could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious of 22 counts against him. His trial is expected to begin in February. Meanwhile, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, remains holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he sought refuge nearly six months ago to avoid being extradited to Sweden to be questioned over sexual assault claims. Earlier this week, Assange vowed WikiLeaks would persevere despite attacks against it. On Tuesday, the European Commission announced that the credit card company Visa did not break the European Union’s antitrust rules by blocking donations to WikiLeaks. Shortly after the ruling, Assange addressed reporters in Brussels via video stream from inside the Ecuadorean embassy. The strength of popular and private support means that we continue. There is no danger that WikiLeaks will cease to exist as an organization. Rather, its natural and rightful growth has been compromised, and that is wrong and must change. It would set a very bad precedent—it was not only wrong for WikiLeaks; it sets an extremely bad precedent for all other European organizations and all media organizations worldwide that monopolies can simply exercise financial death penalties over organizations and companies as a result of political controversy. That was Julian Assange speaking on Tuesday. He now joins us in a rare interview from inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He has been granted political asylum in Ecuador but can’t leave the embassy because the British government promises to arrest him if he steps foot on British soil. He has just co-authored a new book called Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet. The book examines how the internet can be used as both an instrument of freedom and oppression. We want to welcome you, Julian Assange, back to Democracy Now! and first get your reaction to the European Commission’s decision around the issue of Visa, saying it wasn’t breaking antitrust laws when it blocked donations to you. The significance of the credit card company’s blockade of donations to WikiLeaks, what it’s meant for your website? Well, it’s good to be with you, Amy and Juan. The decision is disgraceful, but it is only a preliminary decision. We have another submission that the commission has asked for, so hopefully they will turn around before the end of the year or the beginning of next year. Commission had been investigating our complaint for 16 months. The normal turnaround time is four months. The European Parliament last week voted, through an Article 32 section, on how banks should be reformed and credit card companies should be reformed in order to stop arbitrary, extrajudicial financial blockades such as the one that is being applied to WikiLeaks. This year, we—the Council of Europe, all 47 foreign ministers last year passed a resolution saying that these sorts of arbitrary financial blockades on WikiLeaks should not continue, so that it’s interesting to see the playoff in the political wills in Europe between, on the one hand, the Council of Europe and the Parliament and, on the other hand, the commission. But it’s been known for a long time that the commission is closer to big business, and it is often successfully lobbied. Hopefully the commission will do the right thing and turn around in this case. And how devastating has it been for WikiLeaks? Since the blockade was erected in December 2010, WikiLeaks has lost 95 percent of the donations that were attempted to be transferred to us over that period. So, that is over $50 million. Now, fortunately, our 5 percent of $50 million is still not nothing, and so the organization can continue. But as I said in that press conference, our rightful and natural growth, our ability to publish as much as we would like, our ability to defend ourselves and our sources, has been diminished by that blockade. Now, the United States government has looked into the blockade in January of 2011 and formally found that there is no lawful reason to erect a U.S. financial embargo against WikiLeaks. So what has happened here is that—and this came out in the commission documents that we published yesterday—is that Senator Lieberman and Congressman Peter T. King pressured at the very least MasterCard and Amazon, but perhaps others, including Visa, as well, pressured those organizations to erect an extrajudicial blockade that they were not able to successfully erect through the legislature or through a formal administrative process. Julian, turning to your new book, Cypherpunks, those in the—around the world who have been amazed at your ability to advocate transparency in government and in the corporate world through the internet might be surprised that in your book you now say the internet is a danger to human civilization. Could you explain why? Human civilization has merged with the internet. Every society has gone onto the internet, with communications between all of us as individuals but also communications between businesses, economic transfers, and even the internal communications and external communications of states. So there is no barrier anymore between the internet and global civilization. That means that when the internet develops a sickness, global civilization also runs the risk of suffering the same sickness. And the sickness that the internet has developed over the past 10 years is that nation states and their corporate powers have ganged up together to engage in strategic interception of all communications flowing over the internet across national borders and in many countries even within, within its national confines, such as the United States. We know that that has occurred in different places as a result of whistleblowing cases, such as Mark Klein’s case or William Binney’s, a former chief of research at the National Security Agency. So, we have gone from a position that dissidents face and activists face and individuals face 10, 20 years ago, where if we’re engaged in political activity, we could be individually targeted and our friends could be targeted, to a situation where everything, almost, that everyone does over the internet is recorded and intercepted all the time. And that shift is a shift, as it’s called in the internal documents of the hundreds of companies now who supply this national security sector, a shift between tactical interception on a few people and strategic interception, intercepting the entire nation. We exposed documents earlier this year, the Spy Files—you can look them up—where, for example, the French company AMISYS, which is closely connected to French intelligence, supplied a nationwide—that’s its own words—interception system to Gaddafi’s Libya back in 2009. And in fact, lawyers connected to WikiLeaks and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism were in the manual thatAMISYS shipped to Gaddafi as an example of how the interception system worked. And in terms of corporate surveillance, as well, you often find now in the media a huge push to get people to use social networks. The degree to which private surveillance or corporate surveillance is going on, as well as government surveillance? There’s not a barrier anymore between corporate surveillance, on the one hand, and government surveillance, on the other. You know, Facebook is based—has its servers based in the United States. Gmail, as General Petraeus found out, has its servers based in the United States. And the interplay between U.S. intelligence agencies and other Western intelligence agencies and any intelligence agencies that can hack this is fluid. So, we’re in a—if we look back to what’s a earlier example of the worst penetration by an intelligence apparatus of a society, which is perhaps East Germany, where up to 10 percent of people over their lifetime had been an informer at one stage or another, in Iceland we have 88 percent penetration of Iceland by Facebook. Eighty-eight percent of people are there on Facebook informing on their friends and their movements and the nature of their relationships—and for free. They’re not even being paid money. They’re not even being directly coerced to do it. They’re doing it for social credits to avoid the feeling of exclusion. But people should understand what is really going on. I don’t believe people are doing this or would do it if they truly understood what was going on, that they are doing hundreds of billions of hours of free work for the Central Intelligence Agency, for the FBI, and for all allied agencies and all countries that can ask for favors to get hold of that information. William Binney, the former chief of research, the National Security Agency’s signals intelligence division, describes this situation that we are in now as "turnkey totalitarianism," that the whole system of totalitarianism has been built —the car, the engine has been built—and it’s just a matter of turning the key. And actually, when we look to see some of the crackdowns on WikiLeaks and the grand jury process and targeted assassinations and so on, actually it’s arguable that key has already been partly turned. The assassinations that occur extrajudicially, the renditions that occur, they don’t occur in isolation. They occur as a result of the information that has been sucked in through this giant signals interception machinery. Julian Assange, we can’t ignore the fact that we’re speaking to you inside the Ecuadorean embassy, where you’ve taken refuge, where you’re really there as a kind of refugee. You’ve gotten political asylum from Ecuador but can’t leave the embassy. What are your plans right now? Are you negotiating with the Swedish government, if you were to be extradited there, that they would not extradite you to the United States? Well, Amy, Ecuador has really stepped up to the plate and must be congratulated. I have been found to be, through a formal process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a political refugee and have been granted political asylum, in relation to what has been happening in the United States and allied countries and their behavior—Sweden and the United Kingdom. The situation for me now is that I have been here for five months in this embassy; prior to that, 18 months under house arrest; prior to that, being chased around the world for about six months by U.S. intelligence and its allies. Now, I must correct an earlier statement that you made—this has become common in the press— saying that I was here in relation to Sweden. The reason I am here is essentially in relation to the United States. But the Swedish government said publicly that it would imprison me without charge. And in such a situation, I’d not be able to apply for asylum. Now, the Ecuadorean government has asked the Swedish government to give a guarantee that I would not be extradited to the United States. We have asked for a long time for such a guarantee. That has been refused. All the regular processes have been refused in this case. You know, it’s an extremely odd and bizarre case, and I encourage everyone to go and look at that aspect of the case at And you can see report after report. You can see all the material that the police claim to be true and all the things that have occurred, the Cambridge International & Comparative Law Journal condemning the decisions that were made here in the British courts. Are you saying, Julian, that you would go to Sweden, if they assured you that you wouldn’t be extradited to the United States, to answer questions about these two women who have made charges on sex abuse on your count? Yes, that has been our public position for quite a long time. Julian, I’d like to get back to your book for a second and talk about, at this crossroads, as you see it, in terms of the future of the internet, the importance that you see of cryptography as a weapon of the people on the internet. Well, the development of cryptography is absolutely fascinating. So, we’re not just talking anymore about people being able to write in a secret code that other people can’t read except their intended recipient. Crytography, as a science, in the last 30 years, has developed a basic—basic techniques that we would normally associate with democratic civilization and moved it into the digital realm. So that includes things like anonymous electronic cash and digital voting and signatures and proofs of agreements between people. So, when we look at what happens when civilization moves onto the internet, how is it controlled? At the moment, a lot of the problems we face on the internet and the independence of the internet is guys with guns can simply turn up to any internet server and tell the people there to behave in a certain way, just like they do with oil wells or they do with customs. So, as an international new civilization, a forum where people are intellectually expressing themselves, where we deposit our history and our political ideals and ambitions, the internet is suffering, on one hand, from mass interception and, on the other hand, that it is still in many ways subservient to the physical force in the various states that its infrastructure is located in. Cryptography provides a way to abstract away from the physical world to create a sort of mathematical barrier between the physical world and the intellectual world, and in that way slowly declare independence from nation states. So our intellectual world cannot simply be censored or deleted or taxed in the manner which we have suffered from for so long in nation states. Now, the internet—on the internet, there’s no direct physical force that needs to be policed in that manner, so we don’t need armies on the internet. We don’t need policemen on the internet, in a way that we may need them in our regular nation states. So, we do have this opportunity, with careful use of cryptography and a movement behind it, to achieve some forms of independence for the intellectual record and for our communications with one another. And those aspects of cryptography, we have used, with varying degrees of success, in WikiLeaks to publish material that no other publisher in the world was able to publish because they were constrained by physical threats within particular nation states. [Subtítulos ofrecidos por Democracy Now! en Español] [Síganos en Twitter @democracynowes, y] Democracy Now! no acepta publicidad o financiación corporativa por lo que dependemos de espectadores como usted. Ayudenos a mantener nuestra independencia. Por favor, haga su contribución visitando Necesitamos su apoyo hoy.

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 29 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Democracy Now!
Views: 31
Posted by: democracynowes on Nov 29, 2012

En la entrevista más extensa que concedió en meses, Julian Assange habla con Democracy Now! desde el interior de la embajada de Ecuador en Londres, donde ha estado refugiado desde hace casi seis meses. Assange prometió que WikiLeaks continuará a pesar de los ataques en su contra.

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