On Tuesday, the Indian newspaper Business Standard published an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently under house arrest in England pending extradition proceedings. S. Kalyana Ramanathan spoke with Assange, who offered the following glimpses into how he perceives the work WikiLeaks is doing.
He Regrets Nothing
Q. Is there anything you have leaked so far that you regret?
A. Nothing. And that's not because I view that every word we have ever released has tremendous positive value. Rather, it is (because) on an average, what we have released has major positive moves towards a more just State and it's vital to keep to policy that does not make ad hoc, arbitrary decisions, but keeps to publicly-stated policy.
He's Breaking Down Barriers in International Media
Q. Do you think what you have done so far has changed journalism forever?
A. I hope so. Time will tell. I think more journalists as individuals working together, media institutions themselves working together, that is something we forced. As part of our conditions, we forced them (select media groups in the US, UK and France) to work together. I don't think that is a normal situation. That is something we drove.
He Has Nothing to Do With George Soros
Q. There has been speculation that you have the support of George Soros and Israeli intelligence service Mossad. Where do you think this is coming from?
A. (It is common) in the US to allege George Soros is behind everything. To be fair, the only vaguely conspiratorial things that George Soros has been behind is some of the 'Colour Revolutions' in Eastern Europe about five or six years ago that I know about.
He Just Loves India!
Q. India is still a very young and evolving democracy. What do you have to say about the Indian media?
A. Well there are some very great little journalistic groups in India. (The) Hindu, (The) Times (of India) have been quite good... some of their material. In my dealings with Indians, there is such an incredible potential in the Indian media, because there is still a lot of corruption. On the other hand, journalism is quite vibrant in the medium and lower level. You have a rising middle class. You have more people getting access to the Internet. So, I am quite hopeful of about what is going to develop in India.
By 2015, WikiLeaks Will Be on Mars
Q. Where do you see WikiLeaks five years from now... if it survives?
A. On Mars (laughs). I hope we can standardise a certain type of publishing freedom for the little guys and the big guys. That we can get international covenants to promote that standard for freedom of the press and encourage ethical standards for journalists, so that good journalists are not out-competed by bad journalists.
Hmm ... Indophilia, tech-evangelism, and visions of a flattened international community? Have Julian Assange and Tom Friedman ever been photographed in the same room together?