2010-11-30 Cablegate: Glenn Greenwald on CBC


Glenn Greenwald was interviewed earlier today on CBC's Connect with Mark Kelley about WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, the US government and media reactions to Cablegate, and calls to prosecute Assange:

"His whole life has basically been sacrificed on the altar of trying to bring some accountability and some transparency to these powerful people - that's supposed to be the job of journalists, and yet they seem to be quite hostile to someone like him, who's actually doing it.[...]

What ends up happening in American political culture is that most citizens, and especially the established media are essentially identifying with and getting too close to political power - they're supposed to be adversarial to political power, they're supposed to be on the outside, watching over them, prevent them from engaging in wrong-doing, and instead they come to rely upon them for access, for their sources, for their exclusives, and they come to identify with the very people and political office that they're supposed to be monitoring. And so when somebody [who] is truly adverse to political power, which is what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are, emerges, [what happens] is that these media figures, instead of identifying with the values of disclosure and journalistic exposure and bringing about checks and accountability, instead they identify with the political class into which they've essentially been merged, and the reactions between political figures and media figures are basically the same: everybody is angry and offended at the fact that somebody would inform the American citizenry about what the United States government is doing. It's really extremely bizarre, it's not surprising that the government wants to keep secrets, but to watch the media volunteer to be the leaders, the crusaders on behalf of government secrecy is really quite warped, and reflective of something that's gone very wrong in the American media.[...]

He (Assange) is absolutely a hero, and what's particularly bizarre about it is you hear certain members of the press calling for him to be prosecuted, but the only theories that would allow him to be prosecuted would be the same theories that could easily imprison large numbers of journalists. I mean, the Bush administration actively considered imprisoning or prosecuting the New York Times reporters who revealed that President Bush was illegally spying on Americans in violation of the law. Those are the same theories that they're now calling on to be invoked in order to prosecute Julian Assange for publishing secrets that he got his hands on. They seem to not know or not care that if that actually happens, the ones that would be most jeopardized would be them, at least the few of them who are actually doing investigative reporting."

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