News & Views
Julian Assange soundbites from SXSW

Julian Assange appeared via Skype at the South By Southwest festival in Texas this weekend, to speak about digital freedoms and to answer questions submitted using the #AskAssange hashtag, in an interview moderated by Barbarian Group’s Benjamin Palmer. Below is a selection of key quotes.

On censorship and surveillance:
“There is a really serious attempt to try and stop these revelations and others, and introduce a new international regime of censorship.”

“Now that the internet has merged with human society… the laws that apply to the internet apply to human society. This penetration of the internet by the NSA and GCHQ is the penetration of our human society. It means there has been a militarisation of our civilian space.”

“How had it come to this? How is it that the internet that everyone looked upon as perhaps the greatest tool of human emancipation there had ever been, had been co-opted and was now involved in the most aggressive form of state surveillance ever seen?”

On growing online awareness and activism:
“The internet, about four years ago, was a politically apathetic space. But whenever you start to engage in any space, you run into state powers, you run into the deep state.”

“We have to do something about it. All of us have to do something about it… How can individuals do something about it? We are now all involved in this. We are all involved in what we traditionally called the state, whether we like it or not. So we have no choice but to try to manage the behaviour of the state that we have been forced to be part of.”

On reporters working in exile:
“National security journalists are a new kind of refugee.”

“I see this as quite a positive phenomenon, that where people would have been completely crushed and not able to work anymore, they are able to use these basic tenets of classic liberalism like freedom of movement… to keep working.”

On the origins of WikiLeaks:
“It became clear to me that one of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice. And you can be simplistic about it, which some people are. It’s not that when you expose something automatically there is justice… There’s always a really decent chance that they’re not going to get away with it, and the people affected can take some kind of action. And there’s no confidence in the power being deployed. No confidence in the injustice.”

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