In the interview below, Afshin Rattansi talks to Julian Assange about Google, and its relationship with the US government, Eric Schmidt's book and the attacks on Wikileaks as well as other issues.
The sound is low on this video so use headphones or watch it in a quiet area.
I posted a review of Julian Assange's book, When Google Met Wikileaks on April 11th. The book is a detailed account of a meeting Assange had with Google CEO Eric Schmidt at Schmidt's request I believe. I am almost finished it and it is an important book to read for those of us who are committed to changing society.
Those of us that started this blog took a strong defense of Julian Assange after the accusations of rape surfaced around the time of the Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning incarceration, torture and eventual imprisonment for releasing sensitive US military information and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, the publishing organization Assange founded.
Among the most damaging was the video Collateral Damage which can be seen on You Tube. We did not and do not treat accusations of rape lightly but given the circumstances and timing of the accusations amid calls for Assange's imprisonment and even death by some US politicians, we opposed handing him over to any bourgeois institution and instead for an independent investigation by women's groups, representatives from trusted independent worker/activist and community organizations, and rank and file trade union groups. We had stressed that socialists and the left must mobilize to defend
Assange, Manning and others like them for revealing government
information and the phony diplomacy of the representatives of global
imperialism. Assange has never been charged.
I had become interested in Assange's book when reading about Obama's visit to Cuba in the Wall Street Journal and commenting on it myself. Eric Schmidt had been in Cuba a couple of years prior to the Obama visit and with his administration's blessing. A Cuban academic had commented that in this visit, It wasn’t Google’s
technical wing that came, it was the political wing, which is an extension of
the US State Department.” Anyone that follows international relations and particularly the US role in the world, understands this to be true. In that sense it's not that much different to representatives of Chinese state controlled firms visiting nations.
In the same Wall Street Journal article I first read about Assange's meeting with the Google CEO and three other individuals, one of them a man named Jared Cohen who Assange describes in his book as Google's “director of regime change.”.
It is imperative that socialist, anti-capitalists and any social activists recognize that people like Schmidt represent a new age bourgeois based on the technology that has arisen over the past 40 years or so and which has developed even more rapidly in the past two decades. These individuals have accumulated massive wealth in a short period of time and, not unlike their predecessors Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and others, believe they, as Masters of the Universe, are on a mission to create a world like the one they inhabit and that US capitalism represents. Their global reach however, is far greater than that of their predecessors.
It is not simply in to the private lives of human beings, but their global influence, their ability to control information. As Assange points out, Google's image is viewed 6 billion times a day throughout the globe. Carnegie could not imagine having such influence and ability to reach so many people from one end of the planet to the other. Google and the US state apparatus are bonded together, joined at the hip, and Assange is on the mark with regard to his description of Cohen.
Assange says of Schmidt in the introduction to his book, "For Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with US foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to Western companies and markets." The not so backward Chinese say of Google, "in the Internet age, Google uses its monopoly of Internet
information searches to sell American values and assist America in building its
hegemony.” If there's any institution the Chinese despise more than Google it is Wikileaks and Assange as its founder.
I am almost finished When Google Met Wikileaks and am about a third through The Wikileaks Files which is also important reading especially as accusations and information given here is backed up by official diplomatic cables between the parties. It talks a lot of US foreign policy, it's relationship with dictators and its puppet regimes beginning with Latin America and Haiti and the doctrine of "Liberal Internationalism" and its accompanying violence. And it is not that we don't suspect this stuff, or with some of us accept it, but what Manning and Wikileaks have done is make it a social fact. This has a significant affect on mass consciousness which is why state forces have responded so aggressively exiling Snowden, hounding Assange and imprisoning Manning for 35 years.
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for
projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help
them." Colonel Nathan Sassaman. *
* The Wikileaks Files p 74 Quoted from War and Occupation in Iraq 2007
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