Exclusive Julian Assange Interview With Cenk Uygur (12/22/10)

Exclusive Julian Assange Interview With Cenk Uygur (12/22/10)


CENK UYGUR, GUEST HOST: First, our exclusive
interview with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who sparked a global uproar with his release
of hundreds of thousands of pages of secret government documents and diplomatic cables,
information ranging from the outrageous — we had innocent and unarmed reporters and
Iraqi civilians being killed by U.S. troops — to the downright embarrassing, comments
about the hard partying and the corruption of different world leaders. Not long after that latest release, Assange
found himself in legal trouble in Sweden. But not for any reasons having to do with
the leaks. Instead, he was booked on a series of sex charges. With the help of people like the American
filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore, Mr. Assange is now out on bail and speaking out
to us. Let’s now go to Ellingham Hall in Norfolk,
England, where Julian Assange is currently on house arrest. Julian, great to have you with us. JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: Good evening,
Cenk. UYGUR: All right, the first question I have
for you, Julian, is do you consider yourself a member of the press? Are you a journalist? ASSANGE: Well, I have been a member of the
Australian press union for many years. I co-authored my first book when I was 25 and have been
involved in setting up the — the very fabric of the Internet in Australia since 1993 as
a publisher. So quite interesting that this is something
that is being raised. It’s — it’s actually a quite deliberate attempt
to split off our organization from the First Amendment protections that are afforded to
all publishers. You know, as time has gone by and our journalism
has increased, I’ve been pushed up into senior management, into a position where I manage
other journalists. I now even am in a — in a position where I’m managing the interrelations
between “The Guardian,” “Spiegel,” “The New York Times,” “Al Jazeera” and so on, which
were used in — in our last production. So, yes, unfortunately, I don’t write that
much anymore, because I’m busy being editor-in-chief, coordinating the actions of other journalists.
But a quite deliberate attempt to split us off in the mind of the public from those “good”
traditions of the United States, protecting the rights of the press to publish, to split
us off from the support of the press in the United States, the support of journalists. Some of those journalists have fallen for
that. And why? Because they’re worried that they’re going
to be next. They believe that if they sell us out, if they say, well, he’s not really
a journalist, they can have the U.S. — have the Washington authorities target us and destroy
us and somehow steer clear of the crossfire, which they worry will — will scatter out
through all journalists. But I have a message to them. They’re going
to be next. And we’re seeing these statements that “The New York Times” is — is, you know,
is now also being looked at in terms of whether it has engaged in what they call a conspiracy
to con — commit espionage. So us journalists and publishers and writers,
we all have to stick together to resist this sort of reinterpretation of the First Amendment,
this attempt to use the 1917 Espionage Act, something that was put in place in the middle
of World War — toward the end of World War II, in the middle of the U.S. involvement
in World War I, to stop bona fide espionage in World War I. Now, we’ve got this antiquated act that they
are trying to apply to publishers, arguably, unconstitutional. But that will take many
years to get through the court. And in the meantime, what happens? In the meantime, we have our people harassed.
We have calls to apply this to — to other newspapers. All members of the press and — and all the
American people who believe in freedom and the — and the good founding principles of
revolution — of the revolutionary fathers have got to pull together and resist this
attack on the First Amendment. UYGUR: And do you think they have pulled together
or do you think that large portions of — whether it’s the American media or the international
media — have abandoned you and not come to your defense when people in government call
you a high tech terrorist? ASSANGE: Yes, well, they were. They were.
But we saw a bit of a shift around 10 days ago. You know, once I was put in prison, this
really focused the mind of people intently into what was happening. So we — we have
seen a turnaround. We saw the — the House Judiciary Comm —
Committee issue a finding that this would be a — a grave step and — and an attack
on the First Amendment. We’ve seen the New York-based Human Rights Watch saying that
this would be a very grave step and should not be done. We’ve seen Reporters Without
Borders issue an open letter to Obama condemning that sort of interpretation. And we have seen a number of members of the
mainstream press rightly stopping forward and understanding that there has to be a line
drawn in the sand, that this erosion of the First Amendment must be stopped. And so I’m quite hopeful about that. I think
people are — are saying that it’s going too far. You know, always in this sort of situation,
you have an institution like the State Department connected with military contractors and an
institution like the Pentagon, an institution like the CIA, able to respond fairly quickly
and get its agenda up fairly quickly because they are organized. They have a chain of command.
They have internal e-mail communications and systems. They have existing contacts with
the press. They spend an enormous amount of money on public relations. So they’re —
they’re able to get their message out quickly. But the reality is that a large swathe of
the population sees things differently, not just in the United States, but in Australia,
my home country, where the — the prime minister made similar sort of statements to the United
States. Now, that’s completely turned around in Australia
and Australians have gotten together — UYGUR: Well — ASSANGE: — to even take out a full page ad
in “The New York Times” condemning that — that sort of behavior. As time goes by, the large number of people
— the silent majority start to become organized. And that’s what we’ve seen over the last two
or so weeks — the gradual organization of the silent majority to resist a new type of
tyranny, a new type of privatized censorship, a new type of digital McCarthyism that is
being pushed from Washington. People don’t like it. Around the world, people
don’t like it. They don’t like it in the United States, especially because of these good First
Amendment, revolutionary traditions about the rights and freedoms of all people to criticize
and open up their government. UYGUR: Well, Julian, I want to get to as much
as possible here. So I want to give you a chance to respond one by one to your critics. First to Mitch McConnell, who is, of course,
the leader of the Republicans in the Senate and to Joe Biden, who both said that — called
you a high tech terrorist. How do you respond to — to Joe Biden, the
president of the United States, saying that to you? ASSANGE: Well, let’s look at the definition
of terrorism. The definition of terrorism is a group that uses violence or the threat
of violence for political ends. Now, no one in our four year publishing country
covering over 120 countries has ever been physically harmed as a result of what we have
done. And that’s not just us saying that. It’s the Pentagon saying that. That’s NATO
in Kabul saying that. No one — not a shred of evidence. There are — believe me that
if they could find or even easily manufacture a shred of evidence, they would be doing that
immediately. So it’s clear that whoever the terrorists
are here, it’s not us. But we see constant threats from people in
the Re — you know, Republicans in the Senate trying to make a — a name for themselves,
the people like Sarah Palin, top shock jocks on Fox and, unfortunately, some members, also,
of the Democratic Party, calling for my assassination, calling for the illegal kidnapping of my staff. And — and just a few days ago, it was in
Fox, that was the phrase that was used — illegal. He should be illegally murdered
if necessary– assassinated by the law, if possible, if not, illegally. What sort of message does that send about
the rule of law in the United States? That is conducting violence in order to achieve
a political end — the elimination of this organization or the threat of violence to
achieve a political end, the elimination of a publisher. And that is the definition of
terrorism. UYGUR: Now, I want to give you a chance to
respond personally, though, because here Mike Huckabee is making it very personal. You saw
that quote we had up. He says, I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty
for you. Sarah Palin is saying that you are like al Qaeda and the Taliban and he — you
should be pursued with the same urgency. So how would you respond to Mike Huckabee,
who is a top Republican leader, who’s likely to run for president again? How do you respond to Sarah Palin, a top Republican
leader who might run for president again? ASSANGE: Oh, it’s just another idiot trying
to make a name for himself. But it’s a — it’s a serious business. I mean if we are
to have a civil society, you cannot have senior people making calls on national TV to go around
the judiciary and illegally murder people. That is incitement to commit murder. That
is an offense. You cannot have senior people on national TV asking people to commit an
offense. That is not a country that obeys the rule
of law. Does the United States obey the rule of law? Because Europeans are starting to wonder whether
it is still obeying the rule of law? And it needs to be very careful. Is it going to descend into an anarchy where
we don’t have due process, where those great Bill of Rights traditions about due process
are just thrown to the wind, when — whenever some shock jock politician thinks that they
can use it to make a name for themselves? Or do we take things according to laws expressly
made by the people and their representatives? That is the way things should be done. And
— and when people call for illegal, deliberate assassination and kidnapping of others, they
should be held to account. They should be charged for incitement to commit murder. UYGUR: Well, that’s a very strong charge.
And what they’re saying is very strong. What — what’s actually happened, the only
person who’s actually been arrested on any leak is actually Private Bradley Manning.
He’s actually been in prison for the last seven months. And I know you spent a week
in prison and you got a little sense of how bad it can be. He’s had 200 days of solitary
confinement in a small cell for 23 hours a day. He gets a 5:00 a.m. Wake up call. He’s
not even allowed to exercise in his cell. He’s not allowed to have sheets or a pillow,
etc. Etc. Etc. A lot of people, including some of the top
human rights analysts in– in the world, believe that this is cruel and inhumane treatment. Do you think Private Manning is, one, a hero? And, number two, do you think the American
government is treating him wrong by keeping him in isolation for so long? ASSANGE: We don’t know whether this young
man is our source or not. Our technology is set up so we don’t know that. That is the
best way to protect people. But let’s look at the allegations. Regardless
of whether he was the whistleblower behind some of these res — revelations or not, he
is a young man that has been caught up in this, kept in solitary confinement for some
six months — some 5,000 hours now — in conditions that were even worse than the ones that I
was in, held in a — he’s now held in a military brig. His visits are very limited, only once
a week. And his lawyer has said that they have been getting worse and that his psychological
health has been getting worse. If we are to believe the allegations, then
this man acted for political reasons. He is a political prisoner in the United States.
He has not gone to trial. He’s been a political prisoner without trial in the United States
for some six or seven months. That’s a serious business. Human rights organizations should
be investigating the conditions under which he is held and is there really due process
there? Now, we’ve recently heard calls to try and
set up a plea deal with Brad — Bradley Manning to testify against me, personally, to say
that we engaged in some kind of conspiracy to commit espionage — absolute nonsense.
Absolute nonsense. That’s not how our technology works. UYGUR: Well — ASSANGE: That’s not how our organization works.
I never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media. But actually, mainstream journalists in the
United States, mainstream investigative journalists, how do they operate when they’re investigating
a story? They do actually ring up their sources and
say, do you have anything on this? That is how they operate. And if we are to — if they want to push the
line that when a newspaperman talks to someone in the government about looking for things
relating to potential abuses, that that is a conspiracy to commit espionage, then that’s
going to take out all the good government journalism that occurs in the United States. And, fortunately, as an organization, we’re
not too exposed to that because that’s not how our technology works. But other journalists
are. And they need to take action now. And they need to understand another thing,
that in this case of Bradley Manning, his conditions have been getting worse and worse
and worse in his cell as they attempt to pressure him into testifying against me. That’s a serious problem. UYGUR: Right. Right, Julian. And I want to let the audience know that Private
Manning, of course, has not been convicted of anything. He’s in isolation as we keep
our most serious criminals, even though he has not been convicted. ASSANGE: But Julian Assange, we — we really
appreciate your time today. Thank you for joining us. ASSANGE: All right. Merry Christmas. UYGUR: And — all right. Merry Christmas to
you, as well.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Exclusive Julian Assange Interview With Cenk Uygur (12/22/10)

  1. I must say I didn't expect that he would sound so erudite and personable. I have been following the media a bit but only just recently became more interested and heard his speech from the Ecuadorean Embassy balcony. Seeing ABC 4 Corners, Australia 'Sex, Lies and Julian Assange' was a wonderful starting point for me to do my own research and thinking. Wonderful interview.

  2. Do not expect a essay from in here in the in the web where i am not being forced. you could say that i just was flaming your statement and your stupid country, simple as that. Now if you want to know why, you will have to search for it.

  3. I'm from England, but I live in the Netherlands. I still dislike Julian Assange. If my opinion offends you, I'm not sorry.

  4. well then i am sorry for being harsh to your country if that matters. It always more enjoyable to tease an american, not as funny as GB or an other country, simple because they do not care. but still disliking someone that is fighting for the freedom of speak, is quite unintelligent.

  5. I believe strongly in freedom of speech. What I do not believe in is making confidential documents public – the kind of documents that could damage delicate foreign-relations, or which reveal information that could cause people to be killed.
    There's a reason some information isn't made public for 30 years.

  6. Julian Assange deserves to be put in Jail for the rest of his life. I don't care about anything he released except for the names of the operatives. How can you not see he caused hundreds of peoples lives to be endangered. He paints this big image of freedom of speech while he endangers all these men who have dedicated their lives to their country. He is nothing but a scumbag.

  7. I am on a personal quest to watch every Julian Assange interview I can find on YouTube. So far he always impresses me as polite and honest and a good communicator with a mission of integrity to further the cause of liberty through transparency. And he is under persecution. It is simply disgraceful.

  8. You are a scumbag, you are willing to compromise the integrity of a democracy by taking away accountability of military power. It is always the same in history, all a tyrant need is to make up some imaginary enemies, and dismiss everybody who is in his way as "unpatriotic", and sheeple like you would give them any amount secretive power they want to intimidate anyone they want. If you want to be an uninformed sheep then fine, but others deserve to know what their government is up to.

  9. Of course the military will tell you how very important for their safety it is to keep their action secretive. How else are they going to abuse their unaccountable power to the fullest? Despite much incentive to manufacture a negative consequence of Julian's Action, nothing have been found at all. A trillion dollar military-industrial complex is a much bigger threat than some petty excuses to hide their deed.

  10. I never said those things you claim I did. I don't disagree with him because he released the military reports or any of that. I can completely understand and appreciate those actions. What I think is unforgivable is how he released the names of our operatives. Destroying the life work of all those people as well as putting all their lives in danger was a terrible thing to do. Its like he doesn't think of them as real people, that he was so above them that their lives didn't even matter.

  11. The 1st Amendment defends people's right to "…freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.'' It's stunning how blatantly and regularly the US Govt undermines its own constitution by its actions. I wish they'd stop betraying their own people.

  12. There are laws that intersect with it for a reason – people named in those non-redacted cables were killed or in grave danger dependent upon the countries – he knew what the reaction would be to releasing the diplomatic cables – he should just accept it

  13. Julian Assange is delusional. Releasing state secrets and compromising the safety of officials and the security of the country is NOT journalism, its exactly as they said, High-Tech Terrorism.

  14. read the FACTS, do your own research. the US government is abusing the trust that US citizens are so willingly giving them.

  15. It is a communications delay.

    And this can some times be awkward and it can take time for people to adjust to this information relay.

  16. In the Connecticut Department of Correction, there's a status they put you on when they really want to fuck with you, called "Administrative Segregation". I was in "Administrative Segregation" for 60 days. It was only about a week before I started reaching out the trap in the door when they brought my food, trying to grab the C.O.'s by the shirt-collar and drag them face first in through that 4" by 12" hole. By the end of 60 days, I was ready to eat someone's face. I can't even imagine 7 months.

  17. FUCK the U.S.A. Your countrys fucked up! Seriously, not its people… who its controlled by and factions of your government guilty of countless acts of terrorism, illegal millitary. economic and media controlled acts of terror.

  18. I think the young man did the right thing,getting this information out to wiki leaks,I pray for this young man to be set free.I would like to know what is wrong in working toward peace. I never heard the last 2 presidents even mention that, and even our current president. I feel that we our being ruled by evilness.

  19. as brits it's not easy to for us to commend aussies, but you have in Julian Assange a great man of our times, in fact he should be put forward for the nobel peace prize

  20. people from of all political persuasions owe Julian Assange and Wikileaks a debt of honour, for reminding us that we live in a democracy, and that means abiding by principles of truth and transparency

    to quote the surveilance trolls mantra…a government with nothing to hide has nothing to fear!!!!!!

  21. in time, the filth of humanity that rule this day, will RUE the day they extinguished due process
    will we show show them the milk of human kindness that they so wickedly deny us?

  22. disgusting, say you are an iraqi civilian, totally non participating, your driving down the road in your van, driving your kids to school, you hear a bang nearby. you drive round the corner you see injured and dead men strewn across the junction ahead. you realise one is still alive. i dont care what you say a real man will try to save that mans life no matter what, but the "double tap" insteads leave his 2 children orphaned and in us custody….

  23. Julian Assange is an international criminal…
    He will be captured and tried for the public leaking of countless multinational secrets.
    Julian Assange will be put to death for crimes of international treason, guilty as charged, enemy of the world.
    Under direct authority granted through the United Nations, the US will put an end to this whistle blower's reign of information terror.
    Just as President Obama promises, the US will soon strike a fatal blow and put an end to WikiLeaks once and for all.

  24. It`s not just the USA remember. he is exposing many regimes globally. Perhaps the Mayans were right, 2013 may be the end of the old way of secrets and the dawn of a new age of (badly needed) transparency! Assange and others of the same mind-set will slowly give voice to the 'silent majority', let`s hope we can use this opportunity to right some wrongs without further violence.

  25. Yes, CNN is a credible news outlet. Where else do you think we derive our information about world events? CNN is one of the best news agencies in the world, outside of Bloomberg and Reuters that is.

  26. If treasonous Jew-hating Julian Assange ever dares release damning banking evidence he allegedly possesses, including so-called documents of central banking corruption, we will urge key global financial players to collapse the US currency sooner than planned.
    Rest assured, antisemitic Mr. Assange will bare total responsibility for his devious actions and the world will demand his decapitated head for having triggered a global economic catastrophe.
    If Assange is smart he will burn such documents.

  27. Are you a Jew? Or just a frustrated nobody? Why don`t you use your own name? If the people of the US had any sense they would rise against the Republicans and big bankers who got them into this pickle. Your history shows by statements of good presidents (not just JFK) how this all happened. Don`t shoot the messenger, get a grip and slowly change your values.

  28. honestly why should Assange or anyone else for that matter care about the collapse of the U.S. dollar in the first place? I don't and I'm fuckin American. This is inevitable and once it has collapsed maybe everyone will wise up and we'll all join the revolution to abolish every large banking cartel in the world and Assange would be the face of that movement especially if he is killed. You would only make a martyr of him and piss everyone off. You're trolling in the wrong place asshole. get lost

  29. Atenção… estão a ser usadas em… BRADLEY MANNING…. técnicas de Controlo Mental… possivelmente e em breve… BRADLEY MANNING.. dirá coisas que o incriminarão e irão incriminar Julian Assange… lembre-se de que esses tecnicas de CONTROLO MENTAL… já são usadas há muitos anos, agora estão na primeira linhae a ser utilizadas em todo o Mundo para controlar as Populações… há uma Guerra Económica no Planeta e eles precisam dominar e obrigar as Pessoas a aceitarem tudo que eles desejam

  30. The only thing that matters in the media world is investigative journalism, and i'd say CNN is pretty poor in that arena.

  31. this guy is our history, he exposed his life for our future!, research and you will know , dont stop listenning to your boss, go on and learn and you will understand , is our childrens future, in a smart way , taking a rock out of their way , God in our learning,!

  32. this powerfull people, that have the power now are the same people in power inthe past , but we have to understand, they existed in the past , and we exist forever , it means now!!, we are not in accord with their ideas of division, only the bad guys divide the blessed ones, our beloved,!

  33. I used to respect Julian Assange more before I realized he seems to be avoiding any chance at exposing Israel's war criminals.

  34. Assange is articulate, intelligent, and utterly correct on all points – as expected. What has happened more recently to the Guardian, Glen Greenwald and his husband, and Barrett Brown are clear proof of what he predicts here. Our government has gotten corrupt on its own power, ambition and greed.

  35. amazing how that in this world you can go to jail for spying on the Governement but if the governement spys on us its for our own safety

  36. I had not heard of Julian Assange until I saw this video.  I am so glad that TYT gave him a voice.   I really like him.  He has the makings of a true hero.   I am all for WikiLeaks.  The American Government needs that kind of watch dog.   I am amazed at how low the American Government machine has descended.

    It is deplorable that Senior American Government Officials are actually issuing death threats over freedom of the press, calling it espionage.   It is un-American!

  37. Did you notice? Cenk actually let Julian speak. No incessant interruptions, no jokes to derail the conversation, no attempts to grand stand on his own show. Cent simply allowed Julian the time to make his case. No gimmicks. Herein lies the radical perspective on journalism that got him fired from MSNBC.

  38. If he took asylum in another country's embassy in the US the US government would just invent some kind of shit to give them an excuse to drag him out by force, but that shows the difference between UK and US since our government cares about the law and human rights, and just about every British citizen is for Assange

  39. Sad to listen to this now. Assange says even the MSM drew a ine in the sand and stood on the side of the First Amendment. Now the MSM have crossed that line and rave on about Russia.

  40. I don't know. I think this guy (with do respect to his generally smug domineer) is going to mess around and get clown into power somewhere.

    A CLOWN LIKE DONALD TRUMP.

    Yea, that's right.

    That just happend

  41. It’s funny YouTube has restricted me from seeing all the comments now. I was next to my buddy looking at the same video and 3 comments in comment section he sees is not even shown on my YouTube on my phone at the same time. I guess Alex Jones is right

  42. 9:50 If we are to have a civil society, you can not have senior people making calls on national TV to go around and illegally kill people. Asking people to commit murder. That is not a country that obeys the rule of law. It needs to be very careful. Is it going to descend into an anarchy? where those great bill of rights are just thrown to the wind whenever some shock jock politician thinks they can use it to make a name for themselves?

  43. 11:00 When people call for illegal deliberate assassination and kidnapping of others they should be held accountable, they should be charged for incitement to commit murder.

  44. 14:00 if you call when a newspaper man talks to gov official—when you call that conspiracy to commit espionage…then that's gonna take out all the good government journalism in the U.S.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *