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ZEIT Assange Final

ZEIT Assange Final

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Published by HomoCarnula

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Published by: HomoCarnula on Apr 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Disclaimer: on the one hand I always try to keep the translation as close to the original text aspossible, to catch the main
;) on the other hand: This article seems to be a translation fromEnglish and French
and is
not that good in German. So this is a close translation of abadly written German article \o/ yay me. I included some statements re choice of words, persuativeuse of words etc
s in red. If you
re interested in it
go ahead ^^ Also, as usual: English is not myfirst language, so if you find any mistakes: keep them, they are for free.Disclaimer source: This is a translation of an interview printed in the German newspaper DIE ZEIT,published on 25
of April. I asked if a translation is okay, I didn
t receive any answer. If not:
ohai ZEIT,one of your journalists used a translation done by me for one of his articles without giving credit tome. I think we can call it a draw ;)
m a persistent person
Julian Assange talks with Alexande Lacroix about the future of theinternet, his life in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, about the Swedish judiciary and his new majorproject.>> The Australian internet activist and founder of the whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks, JulianAssange, fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012, where he to this very day enjoyspolitical asylum.[Sorry, guys
directly translated the words they used]In Great Britain he could faceextradition to Sweden because of rape allegations. He
s afraid of that because, by his own account,he could then face extradition to the US and more trials.Wikileaks released with sensational actions in the past years secret documents of the US army,embassies and agencies online, which, amongst other things, are related to the wars in Afghanistanand Iraq.Last Wednesday in London Margaret Thatcher was borne to her final rest. While the funeralprocession moved to the St. Paul
s Cathedral and the gravely dressed pedestrians followed it slowly,our author Alexandre Lacroix went to the Ecuadorian embassy. He met Julian Assange, who is 41today, already once in October 2011, when the latter was guest in the splendid mansion of a warcorrespondent. Back then Julian Assange was already in the middle of the legal fight to prevent hisextradition to Sweden, where he
d face a, in his opinion, unjust trial. Today, in this tiny Ecuadorianembassy in the first floor of an apartment building, which is guarded day and night by 4 cops and atruck with video cameras, and without even a yard to take a stroll, Julian Assange seems to beaffected by the imprisonment.[Disclaimer: The writer had the choice between
 >guarded< and
- >monitored<
he chose
. Interesting choice, since the copsaren
t there to guard the embassy against threats.]Did the spokesperson of WikiLeaks lose the fightagainst the superpowers?DIE ZEIT: Mister Assange, how are you?Julian Assange: Fine. Obviously some journalists feel the urge to see me lamenting about mysituation; they expect that I present them a spectacle ending in the calming realization: Who resiststhe power of the US will just feel the consequences. This is nonsense. We defeated an empire. We
won the fight which we had to fight in all aspects. Today the US tries to get back at us and to attackus indirectly. But we will win again. We have a strategy and we make huge progress.ZEIT: What exactly are you doing the whole day in the embassy?Assange: THE US and its allies brought me into a situation where I can
t do anything else but work. Inthe same time they alienated the whole organization and millions of people. Quite stupid of them,don
t you think?ZEIT: Do you see any way of getting out here?Assange: Many, but that doesn
t primarily interest me. What would happen then? I
m not the onlyone who
s in danger. Coming here was part of a bigger plan. I didn
t accidently walk into this building.That was a strategic decision.ZEIT: If the Swedish agencies guarantee you that you won
t be extradited to the US, will you travel toSweden and answer the judges?Assange: Without doubt there is much misinformation circulating. There are no judges. There are nocharges against me. I have to appear as witness. But when I try to call somebody in Sweden, the copsdon
t even answer the phone. Ecuador asked via diplomatic channels for a formal guarantee that Iwon
t be extradited. I asked for that guarantee from the beginning. Sweden refuses and also refusesto give reasons for its refusal. Earlier this year the chairman of the highest Swedish court, theconstitutional court, Constitutional Court Judge Stefan Linskog, said, that there is nothing preventingSweden from visiting me and talk to me, if it wants, und that he doesn
t understand why this doesn
thappen. According to Swedish media it
s a question about the
Swedish reputation
I didn
t realizethat Sweden has in this thing any reputation left. In Spanish there
s a proverb which is translated:
Stop playing the Swede!
. It means: Stop behaving like you don
t know what
s happening
sabsurd.ZEIT: Let
s talk about the beginnings of your internet activities. Would you say that, for its founders,the internet was a kind of a utopia?Assange: In the early 1990s I was involved in the buildup of the internet in Australia, and indeed youcould say that the first hackers had a utopian mindset. It was a kind of knowledge-utopia. Wethought that it
s our mission to develop a network which would enable humankind to spread andshare knowledge. We believed that it
s necessary to do that because of the role the mass mediaplayed with their consensusproduction and their misinformation. But back then there still was a hugegap between our platonic dream of a transnational network and the real existing technology. In itsbeginnings the internet was fragmentary and poor on information. It was only at the end of the 90sthat a huge enough momentum developed to let us hope that we
re close to the goal. Then for someyears there really existed a golden network age, if we understand that as a free net. In the 2000s adifferent dynamic started when other players entered the stage: big companies like Google,Facebook, Paypal and so on replaced the hacker pioneers and net publicists who fought for thefreedom of speech and opinion. They took over the directing in the expansion of the internet. Withthe development of highly efficient tools for mass surveillance our utopia was killed.ZEIT: From the start you understood the internet as a political entity. Why?
Assange: Most people see the internet only as a communication medium. But that
s way too simple.In reality the medium isn
t politically neutral. Those who use the internet indirectly accept certainvalues. An internet user for instance expects free access to all information he
s interested in. Being atransnational public space the internet bypasses national controls over the distribution of information. Here is its unique blasting force: internet users can cross borders. This is such anextraordinary power; that the internet became the nervous system of our society. It
s the space fordecision-making, and for the consensus on certain topics, for instance on the question of waging awar or not. But this space doesn
t work like a parliament which is only open to elected members. It
snot controllable or hierarchized like the mass media. In a way the internet doubles the system of representative democracy: Outside of the parliaments it opens a new space for the collective,interactive and permanent debate of citizens among each other. That
s why authoritarian regimesand representative democracies worry about this medium.ZEIT: In the near future the internet will change democratic and undemocratic regimesfundamentally?Assange: I
ve been in many countries, in 2007 I even lived for some time in Egypt, and I have thefeeling that everywhere almost everything is the same. Let
s describe the daily routine of any humanphenomenologically: they drive by car to work, they use energy, they marry, they raise a family, theyconsume the same products
The difference between representative democracy and anauthoritarian regime isn
t as distinctive today as it was in times of the Cold War. And the internet isone of the most crucial factors of that globalization.ZEIT: In your theoretical writings from the middle of the 2000s, that means in your blog
(2006/2007) as also in your essay
Governance as Conspiracy
(2006) you propose notless than a new definition of 
. Traditionally the state controls the monopoly of the legitimateuse of physical force. Those who want to fight the state have to go onto the streets. In your view thestate today resembles more a giant computer. Thus everything changes.Assange: Those theoretical texts were only notes I sent to friends. Talking about the state, it still iscorrect: The internet established a whole new initial position. By now we understand the state as akind of casing into which some information enters while other information leaves it. In the casingitself certain information dealing with power abuse, injustice and corruption, are hidden carefully.This perspective leads to the following: the citizens have to know what the casing contains if theywant to execute democratic control over their states. Putting it differently: In a democracy the casingof a state should be as transparent as possible.ZEIT: What does that mean politically?Assange: This changes the nature of our political fights. Take a look at the pentagon: Informationenters and leaves this organization but also people enter and leave. Among these men, among thesecountless people keeping the state machine running are some who have high morals. If those peoplewitness a case of corruption or unlawful torture they might want to talk about this information. It
sdifficult for a state to prevent its servants from making scandals public. This isn
t really news but it
shighly visible that with the internet an age of information began, in which the publishing of sensitivedata became part of the political fight.ZEIT: Do we live in a new age?

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