Founder of WikiLeaks
This month, WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange joined Stansberry Investor Hour hosts Buck Sexton and Porter Stansberry for an interview from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
No matter what you think of him… Whether you support his exposure of state secrets or believe he’s endangered U.S. lives… Julian Assange is worth listening to. Being a bold truth-teller and being a dangerous maniac are not, after all, mutually exclusive.
Their conversation revealed important insight about the “War of Leaks” in DC… how the political establishment is attempting to shove President Trump back into line… and how the public benefits from transparency and sharing of information…
Q: The New York Times and the Washington Post publish classified information – and they don’t get prosecuted. So why is there a “who-the-law-will-be-applied-to” difference when it comes to WikiLeaks?
Julian Assange: Exactly. The New York Times and Washington Post have giant “slander cannons” is the way to think about it.
They’re like beefed up destroyers with slander cannons all over the deck. And when someone irritates them or threatens them, they can point those slander cannons and blast. That causes the government to keep its distance.
On the other hand, they also are involved in ingratiating themselves constantly. So they also have giant flattery cannons. They deploy this combination of slander and flattery – and occasionally even telling the truth – to maximize their institutional power. And at a social level, the power interests of the journalists who work there. Then of course, to tie in with the interests of the proprietor: Washington Post now is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon (AMZN).
Q: It’s very odd to see both the New York Times and the Washington Post, which are typically left-leaning publications, as well as the Wall Street Journal, which is typically a right-leaning publication, all hammering Trump’s administration day after day after day.
It seems like Trump threatens the political establishment – both sides of the aisle – and the newspapers are fighting back on behalf of their friends and contacts in the political establishment. Is that the right read?
Julian Assange: I think it’s a lot along those lines. It’s shifting as time has gone by.
A very interesting experiment: what happens when you’ve got a populist candidate – in this case, a populist-right candidate. You imagine the same thing would’ve happened to Sanders if he had been chosen by the Democratic Party. You’ve got a populist candidate not connected to existing establishments in a substantive way.
Trump, during the election – the only establishment that he had was the evangelicals via Pence. And that’s it. He had no one else. He didn’t have the military. He didn’t have the security services, didn’t have the banks, etc. I guess he had the coal industries, but they’re so small as to be just not a factor.
So, he gets into government. And then of course there’s been a kind of push and shove, where the president, through his ability to hire and fire, has been showing his power. But the intelligence agencies and Saudi Arabia and the other serious players in the United States and out have also been demonstrating their power. And so you see a give and take between the White House and those other players.
And so if you look at his shift in some security policy – how long did that take? They kept beating him up, and it took about 70 days. So you have an untrained, undisciplined president – it takes about 70 days for the security sector to whip them into position.
It’s not completely there… I think Trump is hard to keep him in a box, even if you get him in a box for a while. So just speaking as a journalist, it’s a fascinating thing to see play out. With Obama and other presidencies, usually that has already played out in the Senate. In their career before they become a president, they’ve gotten into position, and most of – they’re not straying too much from what the “politically correct” position is.
Whereas Trump was all over the place as soon as he got into office and now he’s being shoved and pushed into line.
Q: Are these sorts of accusations the modern political playbook? That the government opposition – whether led by Democrats or led by Republicans, or perhaps both – attack the president with a special prosecutor and allegations of wrongdoing that dog him until he turns over?
Julian Assange: I think from the Democratic perspective, yeah, they’re trying a standard playbook of trying to harass the administration any way they can that they think will lead to its downfall…
It also distracts from an epic loss by the existing Democratic leadership. That really shouldn’t have happened, given how experienced Clinton was and how unexperienced Trump was. That’s a terrible failure that would normally result in a post-election purge of all those people involved. But I think none of that is that surprising or that interesting.
What is interesting is how the security state has joined the fight. And how people who would call themselves liberals or neo-liberals now joining into bed and celebrating the FBI and CIA. And even a fair chunk of U.S. mainstream media are palling up to that project. I think that is quite worrying.
Q: In America, there’s this belief that the one who publishes the leaks is a good guy, but the one who leaks the information to the publisher is not just somebody who should be punished, but is a bad guy. But is that a more complicated ethical question than people allow it to be?
Julian Assange: In my view, what allows us as individuals as a civilization to not do stupid things and to do the humane thing or the intelligent thing is that we know something about the world. We’re not kind of drifting through it blind. And therefore, processes which result in human beings knowing more about the world, I support.
It doesn’t mean that in every single instance that I necessarily agree, but I think that principle is very important. It’s so important I think it is probably the most important thing that human beings do. Because if human beings aren’t communicating with each other, teaching each other about how the world really works, we’re like rabbits or stones or something, and everything fails.
So when an individual, whatever their motivation, helps contribute to the advancement of human civilization by providing it information that allows all of us to understand what’s really going on, then I think we should encourage that. And we should encourage it by applauding those people for helping us. We should encourage it by offering them financial rewards in some cases. We should encourage it by defending them from prosecution. We should encourage it by changing the law to make it easier for them.
For the full interview and a debate between Buck and Porter about what we should do with “whistleblowers,” click here to sign up for the Stansberry Investor Hour notification list.
Buck Sexton is host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, Buck Sexton with America Now, heard on over 100 stations across the country.
A former CIA and NYC Police Department Intelligence Officer, Buck is also the cohost of Stansberry Investor Hour, a weekly radio show that you can subscribe to for free right here: http://investorhour.com/