Julian Assange addressed the Green Party this morning in a powerful live-feed video. Technical difficulties at first made it look like the interview might not happen at all. Assange even asked someone off camera: “Did they not test this?” Eventually they were able to overcome the difficulties and have a lengthy Q&A. These are highlights from his speech.
Here’s what you need to know.
Assange Said Voting to Keep the Other Candidate Out Is a Type of Extortion
Assange told the Green Party that voting for one candidate solely to keep the other out of office was a form of extortion.
“What the Clinton campaign at the moment is trying to say is… Maybe we’re connected to arms dealers and to Saudi Arabia and yes maybe we subverted the integrity of the Democratic primary… But you’ll just have to swallow that or else you’ll get Donald Trump. That’s a form of extortion…
“It’s very important not to allow the political process to suffer from extortion or even yourself to be susceptible to extortion… It’s important for those people who feel their principles have been violated in the way the Democratic primary process has been run or how Chelsea Manning been in prison for 35 years… to go OK, there’s a cost to violating principles, even if there’s also a cost to yourself, even if you don’t like the risk that Donald Trump becomes President. One has to have a line somewhere, otherwise as each election cycle proceeds you’re pushed further and further into the corner.”
He also addressed the DNC leaks from WikiLeaks and the implications involved.
What they show is not only was there a sort of internal view … about how to undermine Bernie Sanders and support Hillary Clinton… But rather there were formal instructions made to DNC staff to execute a campaign of black propaganda against Bernie Sanders…”
“For example, Luis Miranda the communications chief instructed his staff to put out … allegations that Bernie Sanders supporters were engaged in acts of violence. Similarly there were discussions to expose or rather claim that BS was an atheist and this would harm him in the south. … Then there’s aspects to do with how financing was being bounced around between the DNC and state parties and the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund. To my mind the most ongoing interesting material is the influence peddling structure of the DNC…”
Assange Said WikiLeaks Was Not Trying to Harm Hillary Clinton
Assange addressed rumors that WikiLeaks was actively trying to harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
When we published the DNC leaks, the New York Times … said that I intended to harm Hillary Clinton. This is what we’ve been doing for 10 years. That was a completely fabricated story… We are in interested in power and publishing the truth about power so people can work out however they choose to reform power…
He encouraged third-party activists to keep fighting.
“What is happening now with the Green party and Gary Johnson and Bernie Sanders’ campaign is very important but it must be seen past the moment, past this political moment… (This is a) moment to build a movement and build pressure. Having built it, then, one can … hold accountable and check the abuses of government during the next four years… (Clinton and Trump) are two (of) the most unpopular pair of presidential candidates in U.S. history. … They are going to continue to generate oversight and resistance which will not only create a fertile field for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein to grow their support, but will create a very fertile field to understand and hold the government to account.”
He added that although he believes Clinton will most likely win, he doesn’t prefer either candidate:
“I was asked this question, did i prefer Clinton or Trump? The answer is do i prefer cholera or gonorrhea? … It’s a very sad situation. Given the reality has always been, the president pretty quickly merges with the bureaucracy that’s around it… Corporate lobbyists are enormous compared to political parties.”
He added that he was concerned with Google being one of those lobbyists and its connection to the White House. He was concerned that closer relations might hurt the way we communicate down the line.
Assange: Jill Stein Will Be Attacked More After the Convention
Assange noted that Stein will be facing greater attacks in the coming months from the media.
I’ve just seen the attacks have started to ramp up on Jill Stein. They are going to go thru the roof. Those attacks are going to be ferocious… You’ll learn lessons from that on how the media works and how one can defend your principles and ideas in the face of that… To defend civil liberties and the Internet, the first thing is to practice it.”
He encouraged the delegates watching the feed:
“Become your own media in practice in small ways and big ways… Keep your principles and sense of clarity on those principles.”