January 31, 2011

Wikileaks’ Values Like ‘Those Of The US Revolution’

In an interview with the CBS News television program 60 Minutes on Sunday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange denied that his website was working to sabotage the US government and compared the work that he and his colleagues do to that of the nation's founding fathers.

Speaking with 60 Minutes Correspondent Steve Kroft while under house arrest in Great Britain, the 39-year-old Assange said that the American government "does not have the technology" to take Wikileaks down, but added that he and his associates did have "a system whereby we distribute encrypted backups of things we have yet to publish" should anything happen to him.

"There are backups distributed amongst many, many people, 100,000 people and that all we need to do is give them an encrypted key and they will be able to continue on," Assange told Kroft. When asked by the CBS reporter what would trigger the release of that encryption code, Assange answered, "Anything that prevented us"¦ significantly from being able to publish."

Assange also took issue with "statements by the Vice President Biden saying"¦ that I was a high-tech terrorist" and "Sarah Palin calling to our organization to be dealt with like the Taliban, and be hunted down. There's calls either for my assassination or the assassination of my staff or for us to be kidnapped and renditioned back to the United States to be executed."

The Australian-born Wikileaks founder also denied accusations that he and his staffers were anti-American, telling Kroft, "our founding values are those of the US revolution. They are those of the people like Jefferson and Madison. And we have a number of Americans in our organization. If you're a whistleblower and you have material that is important, we will accept it, we will defend you and we will publish it. You can't turn away material simply because it comes from the United States."

One topic which Assange refused to discuss was the possible sex crime charges he could face in Sweden. He currently is in the UK while courts determine whether or not he should be extradited, and while he did not discuss the accusations directly, he did discuss his house arrest, telling Kroft, "when you are forced to stay somewhere against your will, it does become something that you want to leave."

Likewise, he would not confirm or deny rumors that Wikileaks had acquired a hard drive containing information from Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, but he said he enjoyed seeing "all these banks squirming."

"When you see abusive organizations suffer the consequences as a result of their abuse, and you see victims elevated, it's, yes, that's a very pleasurable activity to be involved in," Assange added.


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