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Excerpt: "The Internet itself had become 'the most significant surveillance machine that we have ever seen,' Assange said in reference to the amount of information people give about themselves online. 'It's not an age of transparency at all ... the amount of secret information is more than ever before,' he said, adding that information flows in but is not flowing out of governments and other powerful organizations."

The Internet itself had become 'the most significant surveillance machine that we have ever seen,' Assange said in reference to the amount of information people give about themselves online. (photo: Andrew Winning/Reuters)
The Internet itself had become 'the most significant surveillance machine that we have ever seen,' Assange said in reference to the amount of information people give about themselves online. (photo: Andrew Winning/Reuters)



Julian Assange: Internet Has Become 'Surveillance Machine'

By Agence France-Presse

28 November 11

 

ikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blasted the mainstream media, Washington, banks and the Internet itself as he addressed journalists in Hong Kong on Monday via videolink from house arrest in England.

Fresh from accepting a top award for journalism from the prestigious Walkley Foundation in his native Australia on Sunday, Assange spoke to the News World Summit in Hong Kong before keeping a regular appointment with the police.

He defended his right to call himself a journalist and said WikiLeaks' next "battle" would be to ensure that the Internet does not turn into a vast surveillance tool for governments and corporations.

"Of course I'm a goddamn journalist," he responded with affected frustration when a moderator of the conference asked if he was a member of the profession.

He said his written record spoke for itself and argued that the only reason people kept asking him if he was a journalist was because the United States' government wanted to silence him.

"The United States government does not want legal protection for us," he said, referring to a US Justice Department investigation into his whistle-blower website for releasing secret diplomatic and military documents.

The former hacker criticised journalists and the mainstream media for becoming too cosy with the powerful and secretive organisations they were supposed to be holding to account.

In a 40-minute address, he also accused credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard of illegally cutting WikiLeaks off from funding under a secret deal with the White House.

"Issues that should be decided in open court are being decided in back rooms in Washington," he said.

The Internet itself had become "the most significant surveillance machine that we have ever seen," Assange said in reference to the amount of information people give about themselves online.

"It's not an age of transparency at all ... the amount of secret information is more than ever before," he said, adding that information flows in but is not flowing out of governments and other powerful organisations.

"I see that really is our big battle. The technology gives and the technology takes away," he added.

The anti-secrecy activist then help up a handwritten sign from an aide telling him to "stop" talking or he would be late for a mandatory appointment with police.

Assange, 40, is under house arrest in England pending the outcome of a Swedish extradition request over claims of rape and sexual assault made by two women. He says he is the victim of a smear campaign.

 

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+158 # Erdajean 2011-11-28 13:44
More than anything, what has happened to Julian Assange and Gradley Manning must be a red flag to any of us who try to interfere with the dark operations of our government and its corporate bedfellows.
Is Assange a journalist? Well, I have been one for 45 years, and he sure looks like a brother to me! Furthermore, I approve, love and cherish what he has done to discomfort the wide world of tyrants in their evil hidey-holes of secrecy, deceit and privilege. I only wonder how he has been let live this
long. Same goes for others set on exposing the slime that would enslave us all.
 
 
+7 # valerid 2011-11-30 14:15
Perfect response- Julian and Bradley are heroes of the best kind, along with people like Ralph Nader. There is a great film called The One Percent, by the son of Johnson and Johnson fortune- the one % clearly lets us know that we don't even figure into their day and don't intend to- they seemed to know very little about what was actually happening to their $$- it all seemed to the in the hands of the Money Managers and CEO's - time to get their names out in the sunshine- they may be the worst crooks of all!
 
 
+104 # noitall 2011-11-28 13:58
Anyone who dares to bare the slimy facts about the 'wide world of tyrants' is coincidentally accused of being a sex criminal. It works time and time again. Curious isn't it.!?
 
 
+20 # restore2america 2011-11-28 16:06
Anyone who dares to bare the slimy facts about how government and corporate interests are FORNICATING all of us 99% is coincidentally accused of being a sex criminal.
 
 
+52 # giraffee2012 2011-11-28 14:05
If he goes to Sweden to defend himself - he walks into a trap. International law should provide some safety so that he can face his accusers of rape in Sweden without getting hauled off to the USA!

As far as Assaange whistle blower web site - There are laws in USA government that prevents whistle blowing on USA government - which is ironic, isn't it?

There is corruption in D.C. in all branches of government and unlike in private business where whistle blowers often save many lives (etc) and often get protection - the USA government repelling whistle blowing on themselves is simple WRONG.

Look what we've learned from Assange: Secret meeting to make "law." A Congress with less approval rating that Castro. The Supremes passing law instead if ruling the constitutionali ty of laws as dictated by the USA Constitution. Their 2010 "person hood" decision was from a motion filed by the Koch Brothers. Jeeze I can hardly wait for the 5-4 ruling by the Supremes on the health care thing.

Private Manning (not charged yet) is coming to trial soon. Will it be behind closed doors?

GOP: the definition of DEBT is money spent: 2 wars + fraud in the "entitlement" programs + bridges to nowhere.

Register early + mail-in ballots. 2012: Vote Dem Vote Obama.
 
 
+20 # dquandle 2011-11-28 14:45
Obummer is the one who is trying to get Assange extradited so this vile administration can attempt to put him away forever.
Don't vote "Democratic". Don't vote for the murderer Obummer, who has killed people and tortured people (Bradley Manning, for example) just on his presidential say so. He has defiled the constitution, while arrogating for himself the "right" to file bills of attainder and enact extrajudicial killings. Not to mention the mass murder he continues to perpetrate in Afghanistan and Iraq. Vote against the one party system. Stand up against the crime and criminals parasitizing our government and society.
 
 
+54 # AMLLLLL 2011-11-28 15:35
Let's not leave out the part where the law in Sweden already questioned him regarding the sexual assault, never charged him, and dismissed the whole thing. Enter Karl Rove, a good friend (and campaign manager)of the PM in Sweden, who re-opened the question.

Obama is just making a CYA maneuver, since so much could yet be revealed.

It's all so sordid, it just makes you want to puke.
 
 
+18 # pernsey 2011-11-28 17:28
Quoting dquandle:
Obummer is the one who is trying to get Assange extradited so this vile administration can attempt to put him away forever.
Don't vote "Democratic". Don't vote for the murderer Obummer, who has killed people and tortured people (Bradley Manning, for example) just on his presidential say so. He has defiled the constitution, while arrogating for himself the "right" to file bills of attainder and enact extrajudicial killings. Not to mention the mass murder he continues to perpetrate in Afghanistan and Iraq. Vote against the one party system. Stand up against the crime and criminals parasitizing our government and society.


Republicans gave us murders like Bush/Cheney so I would never ever vote republican!!
 
 
+11 # josephhill 2011-11-29 13:45
"Republicans gave us murders like Bush/Cheney so I would never ever vote republican!!"

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well, Pernsey, you are HALFWAY there....but I suggest you have more options than Republican or Democrat. We have to get over this acceptance of a "two"-party system, particularly when the "two" parties become more and more indistinguishab le. OBAMA does NOT deserve to be re-elected....H e is OWNED by many of the same Wall Street interests that have owned the Republicans for years.

"CHANGE"? I haven't noticed very much change. There are those who blame the Reps for stalling legislation; but I say Obama and most of the "Democrats" in Congress are just as blameworthy.

WE NEED A VIABLE 3rd PARTY!!!

If We The People will have the guts to vote our Hopes rather than the Fears generated by Democratic Party hacks who promise the direst of consequences if we don't all fall into line like sheep to vote for the DNC nominee, we can eventually reclaim OUR government.

As long as we continue to fall for the "Lesser-Of-Two- Evils" strategy, we will NEVER get out from under the plutocrats who own both major parties.
 
 
+6 # wcandler1 2011-11-29 15:03
WE NEED A VIABLE 3rd PARTY!!!

NO! NO! NO! We needed someone to challenge Obama in the Democratic Primary! The Tea Party Trick has been NOT to form a 3rd party, but to take over the Republican Party. McKibben, Gore, Kuzinich, where are you when we need y ou!
 
 
+6 # CL38 2011-11-29 20:54
a third party will result in the election of one of the fools running as Republicans.

Is that what you're hoping???
 
 
+16 # futhark 2011-11-28 19:15
dquandle, you are so correct. The United States is dominated by the Plutocratic Party, which shows its Tweedledum and Tweedledee faces alternately, a charade used to mask the real theft of liberty and wealthy behind a window dressing of "democracy".

NEVER VOTE PLUTOCRATIC is my slogan. Especially avoid politicians who seek to fool the public by pretending to be anti-plutocrats while covertly working for endless warfare, corporate dominance, and constant surveillance.
 
 
-1 # swissms 2011-11-29 01:40
Oh yeah. Should we vote Republican? Or are you suggesting simply not to vote at all! What is your solution?

Quoting dquandle:
Obummer is the one who is trying to get Assange extradited so this vile administration can attempt to put him away forever.
Don't vote "Democratic". Don't vote for the murderer Obummer, who has killed people and tortured people (Bradley Manning, for example) just on his presidential say so. He has defiled the constitution, while arrogating for himself the "right" to file bills of attainder and enact extrajudicial killings. Not to mention the mass murder he continues to perpetrate in Afghanistan and Iraq. Vote against the one party system. Stand up against the crime and criminals parasitizing our government and society.
 
 
+1 # josephhill 2011-11-29 14:13
"Oh yeah. Should we vote Republican? Or are you suggesting simply not to vote at all! What is your solution?"

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The American people have been BRAINWASHED into thinking we have no alternative to these "two" parties. The "alternative" to voting for a Democrat is NOT limited to voting Republican or staying home. Go to the polls and vote your conscience....I f you stay home, you are part of the Problem...and if you vote Republican, you must be nuts.

Vote 'Green Party' or some other GENUINELY progressive party. Even though a 3rd-party is unlikely to win, a strong showing will give Obama and the Republican nominee a lot to think about. We, as a Democratic Republic, deserve better than what we've been getting for the past 30-40 years. The lesser-of-two-E vils strategy has no place in a democracy!
 
 
+3 # valerid 2011-11-30 14:17
I watched a great film called 'What in the World are They Spraying'- dealing with geoengineering- another crime against humanity- a guy made a statement- OBAMA?- one big ass mistake america- i've never forgotten it!
 
 
+25 # restore2america 2011-11-28 16:07
Obama is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Our government is the biggest, most powerful organized crime operation in the world.
 
 
+32 # wwway 2011-11-28 14:09
I'm concerned about what's happening to journalism all over the world. I heard a peice on public radio last week about the efforts of the African National Congress to promote secrecy policies that will only lead do Apartheid again.
 
 
+20 # restore2america 2011-11-28 16:10
That is EXACTLY what ANC is doing. Once in power, the "reformers" become corrupt criminals just like the garbage they displaced. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The only solution is to empower all people worldwide to throw out their government officials as and when needed.
 
 
+7 # Capn Canard 2011-11-28 18:34
This sounds like anarchy. Which is exactly why I gave you a thumbs up. Anarchy, or power in the hands of local communities, is our best defense against power that concentrates in the hands of the few.
 
 
+2 # Doubter 2011-11-28 22:16
Is it safe to come out of the closet and admit I'd love NO GOVERNMENT?
 
 
+3 # Capn Canard 2011-11-29 09:43
Please do! In the past I was totally unconvinced of the potential of anarchy, but given the pernicious nature of money and the single minded anti-tax movement of the right wing, it has seemed the only real solution is to decentralize power. And that means all power needs to be in the hands of the local communities. Anarchy looks like the best way to accomplish this, perhaps the only way. After all, most wars are fought for control of the means to make wealth.
 
 
+16 # Magars 2011-11-28 18:42
Quoting wwway:
I'm concerned about what's happening to journalism all over the world. I heard a peice on public radio last week about the efforts of the African National Congress to promote secrecy policies that will only lead do Apartheid again.

Yes,it is scary,add to that when the same or worst happen in our nation with journalists that prefer to look the other way in order to save their status and salaries. THANKS ,INDEPENDENT PRESS LIKE RSN FOR KEEPING US INFORMED FOR REAL AND THANKS TO WIKILEAKS FOR DENOUNCING CORRUPTED GOVERNMENTS (OUR INCLUDED)
 
 
+69 # juliajayne 2011-11-28 14:56
As far as I'm concerned Julian Assange is a hero. Yeah, he could be a jerk in some aspects of his personal life. Most complicated human beings are intrinsically flawed to be sure.

However, my gut says that the charges against him are trumped up. As in I don't believe it's a coincidence that these charges came up when they did. If it's proven that the women were lying/being hyperbolic, it manifestly sets women's progress in this area way back. Sexual predation/abuse of any kind is a very serious charge and women lying about such things makes it that much harder for the next woman who really did suffer abuse.

What he says about the internet is true. I'm not on social media like FB or twitter. But just by dint of sending emails and ordering products online, your habits can be tracked by entitites
such as governments and corporations. That's offputting enough.

And don't you just love how our own citizen, Bradley Manning, has been treated when he's not even had a trial yet?
 
 
+38 # AMLLLLL 2011-11-28 15:41
He is guilty of waking up in THEIR beds the next morning and initiating unprotected sex. That's why the Swedish police dismissed the original assault charges. And one of the girls, an associate, was coerced into reopening the complaint.

This is so Rovian; muddy the real issues with a smear tactic. Meanwhile, our rights are falling like a bad soufflee.
 
 
+27 # Erdajean 2011-11-28 15:58
Yes, indeed, Julia, and we MUST be alert that RIGHT NOW our Senate is trying to pass a law that would put any U.S. citizen who offends The Powers in Bradley Manning's miserable plight -- imprisoned without charge until proven innocent -- without a lawyer of course -- i.e. forever. That's Bill S-1867, supposed to be on their agenda this week.
Our work is cut out for us, dear friends.
 
 
+14 # Magars 2011-11-28 16:04
Quoting juliajayne:
As far as I'm concerned Julian Assange is a hero. Yeah, he could be a jerk in some aspects of his personal life. Most complicated human beings are intrinsically flawed to be sure.

However, my gut says that the charges against him are trumped up. As in I don't believe it's a coincidence that these charges came up when they did. If it's proven that the women were lying/being hyperbolic, it manifestly sets women's progress in this area way back. Sexual predation/abuse of any kind is a very serious charge and women lying about such things makes it that much harder for the next woman who really did suffer abuse.

What he says about the internet is true. I'm not on social media like FB or twitter. But just by dint of sending emails and ordering products online, your habits can be tracked by entitites
such as governments and corporations. That's offputting enough.

And don't you just love how our own citizen, Bradley Manning, has been treated when he's not even had a trial yet?

You are right,but don't forget something about his personal live: innocent until proven guilty. What if everything was a set up ,like "they" did to DSK?
 
 
+50 # BishopAndrew 2011-11-28 15:24
About 30 years ago a friend of mine worked for a very prestigious research university. This particular academy was very involved with the Department of Defense. My friend who is deceased now was assistant director of computer science. One day he told me "if the average American knew how much information the government had on them there would be a revolution. It would scare the hell out of you and it already does me!" Again that was thirty years ago,just imagined what data there is now! Facebook and Google and other internet corporations have been giving companies and governments data for years. If you post it, order it, comment on it, or read it ,or look at it, government knows it! We have long ago lost the war for privacy now we can only hope to win a few battles if only in a Pyrrhic fashion! These are Dark Times and I fear the beginning of a far more sinister Dark Age. Whether it is government suppression of free speech and assembly as we have seen here and or the according of person status for corporations endorsed by the Bush Court or the paramilitary police in cities across America, we are seeing daily less accountability and adherence to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!
 
 
+17 # Magars 2011-11-28 16:21
Quoting BishopAndrew:
About 30 years ago a friend of mine worked for a very prestigious research university. This particular academy was very involved with the Department of Defense. My friend who is deceased now was assistant director of computer science. One day he told me "if the average American knew how much information the government had on them there would be a revolution. It would scare the hell out of you and it already does me!" Again that was thirty years ago,just imagined what data there is now! Facebook and Google and other internet corporations have been giving companies and governments data for years. If you post it, order it, comment on it, or read it ,or look at it, government knows it! We have long ago lost the war for privacy now we can only hope to win a few battles if only in a Pyrrhic fashion! These are Dark Times and I fear the beginning of a far more sinister Dark Age. Whether it is government suppression of free speech and assembly as we have seen here and or the according of person status for corporations endorsed by the Bush Court or the paramilitary police in cities across America, we are seeing daily less accountability and adherence to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!

WELL SAID! Thank you fo sharing with us this vivid example!
 
 
+5 # NanFan 2011-11-29 08:37
No Pyrrhic justice will be enough. We must work to bring back our humane nature. We must get rid of scared little dweebs who feel they must know every bit of information that's being said and by whom. And we can do that by REVEALING THEM when they do it!

We must fight a real battle for change here or hello big-time internet censorship, even beyond WikiLeaks.
 
 
+28 # noitall 2011-11-28 15:41
If the world knew what was being pulled on them there would be millions in the street...and that is what it is going to take. What are the odds that THEY 'privatize' the internet?
 
 
+10 # pernsey 2011-11-28 21:37
Quoting noitall:
If the world knew what was being pulled on them there would be millions in the street...and that is what it is going to take. What are the odds that THEY 'privatize' the internet?


Most people think your a conspiracy theorist or way out there in your thinking if you tell them anything close to the truth, because the truth is so far fetched they just dont believe its really happening until its right in their face.
 
 
+4 # noitall 2011-11-29 15:14
You've got that right. Its like the frog in the heating pot of water; before he knows it, he doesn't have the strength to get out. Frog soup. These nay-sayers will be soup too. Unfortunately our only strength is in numbers and if they stay numb too long...
 
 
+19 # Magars 2011-11-28 15:52
Do you remember when Cenk Uygur was fired from MSNBC?. Phil Griffin, president of this TV station,called him and asked him to "tone it down and that "THE PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON" WERE CONCERNED WITH HIS TONE IN THE SHOW .Mr Griffin,made himself clear that " outsiders are cool,but we're the establishment. Establishment?! As far I know,the establishment is the government. So,why MSNBC called itself estblishment? It suppossed to be Media. A little difficult to see transparency here,Ah!
If the government is doing this to their own,what do you expect what it is capable to do to foreigners that criticize USA policy. In April 2011 in San Francisco,leavi ng an event,when questioned by Logan Price about Bradley Manning,,Obama declared " He broke the law...he dumped classified material.( you can read the transcript in http://tiny.cc/3bu2b )
So B? Manning was declared guilty before has gone to trial and been convicted. This assertion will damage a fair trial. Is this an example of justice and transparency?!
 
 
+13 # williamofthetrees 2011-11-28 16:41
It IS strange to watch people allow for the tragedies to take place before they are willing to do anything to stop them. It just shows how unprepared we are to act like human beings.
 
 
+12 # Carolyn 2011-11-28 16:42
The torture of Bradley Manning was the first information to me that we had cheered for a man whose values and deeds did not match his rhetoric. It is true that the country has changed.
 
 
+19 # Banichi 2011-11-28 16:50
Some time ago an article surfaced - maybe through RSN, I don't remember - which said, in summary, that there has been such a proliferation of 'security' organizations in the U.S. Government, that there was something like a five hundred or a thousand of them. And the article went on to say that the problem that then emerged was that these organizations generated so much data, on a daily basis, that it was impossible to even summarize.

That's how much exposure you and I have to the 'security' forces that are now being lined up to suppress dissent and the freedom to speak. Did anyone miss the article on the bill that the Senate is voting on TODAY to consider U.S. citizens to be vulnerable to military action, anywhere in the world? Think the two are not connected?

That line about the 'tree of liberty needing to be watered periodically with the blood of patriots' does not refer to soldiers sent to foreign lands to hunt 'terrorists' but to citizens brave enough to stand up and demand accountability from our government. Given the reactions of the government, including Obama, to OWS and what it wants, the blood has already started to flow. What stand will you take? Are you in the 99%?
 
 
+11 # Magars 2011-11-28 20:15
I want to share with you examples of people that were fired from their work,because they wrote books or articles for news papers that embarrassed federal government ,the one that
we, the citizens need to apply more accountability : Morris David,he sued the Library of Congress (the case in the Supreme Court ), Thomas Drake,Franz Gayl,Peter Van Buren. You can read more info in Nation of Change.
This is other example of why we need Independent Press and Wikileaks, the one that American Government wants to silence now, the same one that could silence all of us in the future,when we decide to speak out against the wrongdoing by any governmental institution.
 
 
+2 # charsjcca 2011-11-28 21:02
If you are frightened at the level of spying that goes on in America, by America on fellow Americans, you have but one option: Go to another country. I have not talked on a secure telephone for more than 50 years. This is nothing new.
 
 
+7 # NanFan 2011-11-29 08:30
Quoting charsjcca:
If you are frightened at the level of spying that goes on in America, by America on fellow Americans, you have but one option: Go to another country. I have not talked on a secure telephone for more than 50 years. This is nothing new.


I wouldn't say the "one option" is to go to another country; I'd say we have many options to fight these injustices, as we are doing in the Occupy movement throughout the WORLD, not just the states.

The option is REAL change. Shout out that we just won't take it anymore, and then, OUST THE BUMS!
 
 
+3 # Doubter 2011-11-30 20:05
I AM in another country but that doesn't mean my calls aren't monitored. (and probably routed through "Washington")
 
 
0 # carioca 2011-12-05 05:30
Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges are two examples of former mainstream media journalists now working for the alternative press.

Then there are the experts, people such as Noam Chomsky, who rarely find a voice in the mainstream media.

Spying and censorship are the order of the day.
 

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