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is this transparency or espinoge.. he finally speaks

are you for his disclosures or against it... what should the US do

Julian Assange speaks out with Q&A session with Guardian readers online, defends WikiLeaks

BY Aliyah Shahid

Friday, December 3rd 2010, 12:31 PM
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks held an online question-and-answer session on the Guardian's website.
Splash News
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks held an online question-and-answer session on the Guardian's website.
Assange called U.S. army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking U.S. cables, an "unpralleled hero" if he is behind the recent disclosures of U.S. cables.
Assange called U.S. army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking U.S. cables, an "unpralleled hero" if he is behind the recent disclosures of U.S. cables.
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He speaks! Or at least, he types.

Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, held an online question-and-answer session on Friday from an undisclosed location where he discussed his safety, the Pentagon's reaction to his controversial postings and the future of his organization.

It's the 39-year-old Australian's first extensive comments since he went underground after WikiLeaks published more than 250,000 confidential U.S. documents a few days ago.

During the chat with Guardian readers on the newspaper's website, Assange defended posting the top-secret documents — an action that has sent the governments in the U.S. and abroad into a tailspin.

No one has ever been harmed from the controversial postings since the website began publishing four year ago, he argued.

"During that time there has been no credible allegation, even by organizations like the Pentagon that even a single person has come to harm as a result of our activities," Assange wrote. "This is despite much-attempted manipulation and spin trying to lead people to a counter-factual conclusion. We do not expect any change in this regard."

In addition to the recent U.S. cables, Assange has come under fire for releasing classified documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon has blasted the move, maintaining it puts soldiers' lives at risk and will harm national security.

Interpol has put the WikiLeaks head on their wanted list in a separate issue involving Assange, who allegedly sexually assaulted at least one woman in Sweden. He has vehemently denied the charge.

The website announced early Friday that it had to employ a new hosting service in Switzerland and change its web address to after a U.S.-based domain name provider dropped its services. The company said WikiLeaks violated its terms of use and the site was victim to multiple cyber attacks.

Some reports have claimed that he is hunkered down in England.

Assange said that he misses Australia "a great deal" but the government there has made it clear that his "return is impossible." When asked if he fears for his security, he said, "We are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we are able when dealing with a superpower."

He also responded to the numerous death threats he has received, acknowledging a fiery statement by Tom Flanagan, former senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, who recently said Assange should be assassinated.

Assange said anyone who makes "these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder."

He praised the soldier who is accused of leaking the U.S. cables to WikiLeaks.

"If indeed it is the case, as alleged by the Pentagon, that the young soldier — Bradley Manning — is behind some of our recent disclosures, then he is without doubt an unparalleled hero," he wrote.

Assange said his work with WikiLeaks is not done.

"I thought it would take two years instead of four to be recognized by others as having this important role, so we are still a little behind schedule and have much more work to do."

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Answer Question

Asked by Aasiyah at 1:45 PM on Dec. 3, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 16 (3,090 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • WikiLeaks started out as a well intentioned idea that has morphed into a political version of Perez Hilton. That guy is too high on his own narcissism to make rational decisions anymore, and he probably will get someone killed eventually. When it happens, all he'll care about is if his name is spelled right in the headlines about it.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:47 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • I think you mean CONSPIRACY and ESPIONAGE.

    Answer by rhianna1708 at 1:49 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • There's a reason certain documents are classified and who is this person to determine whether or not they should be public? I think whoever leaks them to him should be prosecuted and so should Assange if he ever steps foot in the US.

    Answer by ceallaigh at 2:09 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • I'm all for transparency in government when it comes to spending, our debt, etc. However, when it comes to the military and their dealings, I'm of the opinion that those documents should remain sealed and classified.

    Answer by Fawn80 at 2:47 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • If - as simple logic indicates - these leaks cause information to dry up because informants see that their identity will very likely be revealed, then that would indeed lead to less information about all kinds of things including mortal attacks.

    Assange boasts that there has been no proof of any harm from his leaks, but how on earth COULD there ever be any proof about such a thing as a person with information choosing not to pass it to authorities?? So his claim is blatantly self-congratulatory ... and self-serving.

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:07 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • Wiki leaks and everyone involved should be prosecuted for espionage or anything else they can find. If there are things that are not of a classified nature and they leak them then I consider that free speech. Start leaking classified info and you need to go to jail for doing something illegal. This guy is playing a game of chicken with the world. It's time he was stopped.

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 3:56 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • Agree with Steph.

    Answer by Jambo4 at 4:35 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • Assange boasts that there has been no proof of any harm from his leaks,

    He's full of shit, too. The taliban cited his site as the source of the names of informants in Afghanistan. Does he think they sent those people birthday cards when they found out?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 5:58 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • He has certainly caused a lot of embarrassment to politicians but then they often deserve it for saying one thing in public and the opposite in private. Although some of the leaks have been injudicous, it is hard to see how any of those taken up in the media risk any lives especially as they are not current but refer to past indiscretions . I do think it is time to give the US government a rest though. Apparently Wikileaks has material on corporate scandals , especially the drug, banking and energy sectors. Our corporate masters are even more secretive than the Government and undoubtedly have more to be secret about .

    Despite some inappropriate releases, Wikileaks is in a position to do us all a public service by exposing the lies and deceptions by our ' leaders ' in the public and corporate elites. Good luck to them .

    Answer by janet116 at 6:57 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • I don't think he cares who he hurts, what the long lasting effects of his documents are, or how it effects the relationship of countries. He has gotten his name in the paper and the POTUS knows his name. Mission accomplished.

    Answer by jesse123456 at 7:04 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

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