When Julian Assange appeared in front of the Melbourne Town Hall pipe organ, the pipes shimmered, nearly whistled; leaky, ready to burst. Pastel white as he was beamed in live from London, Assange looked surprisingly well.
The pipe setting became more allegoric as he spoke of his latest alarming leak: The Pied Piper theory. The reference is not to Assange leading his followers into the unknown. But more on that madcap theory later.
Lecture and Q&A specialist company ThinkInc, toured Assange across Australia under the banner of “No more secrets: No more lies”.
The title implies there’s a lot for Assange to clear-up. But “no regrets” is Assange’s motto: he says there is nothing to make clear.
For more than four years while in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, Assange has been mind-bombing and leaking on Syria, Nigerian oil companies, Tunisian overlords and Hillary Clinton. Even as he talks, in complex monologs littered with expletives, he is clandestinely leaking on the French presidential election. Assange believes the leaks over the past ten years have been “perfect — metadata proves this”.
Alas, nothing is perfect. Subjective belief in the perfect truth, whatever the cost, is what makes Assange so utterly frictional. Some on the left are now cautious of Assange. The right wants to kill him. But some still love him.
Assange believes the outcomes of leaks are “always secondary considerations” and if he did not leak during the US election, truth would have been the first casualty.
Sarcastically, on the subject of the US election, he says “I won Trump the election, obviously”, to deathly silence from the sold out audience. Sensing the audience tautness, Assange begins to explain the Democratic National Committee’s Pied Piper strategy.
It is public knowledge that “the DNC knocked off socialist Bernie Sanders”, but it is little known that Democratic Party email leaks reveal the Clinton campaign played a crazy double game, elevating Trump into the spotlight and White House.
DNC emails outlined the agenda: “We don’t want to marginalise the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson. We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates … and tell the press to take them seriously.”
Afterthoughts from Assange on the US election, are cerebral. For example, he didn’t expect Trump to win, but attributes the win to Clinton's over reliance on identity politics.
Clinton’s campaign propelled the “white class acknowledging their whiteness and class existence for the first time in decades. She labelled the other candidates 'deplorable'. But Clinton was the candidate who lost to Trump — one of the worst candidates in history.”
While “Trump lied and Hilary lied”, a section of the US population believed Trump was “emotionally truer”. Assange happily summarised the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy when supporting WikiLeaks leaking information on the George W Bush administration (Iraq War) and later attacking WikiLeaks for leaking on Barak Obama and Clinton.
In another life, Assange could have been a first-rate political analyst or an exceptional counter-intelligence agent. One gets the feeling that the real WikiLeaks confrontation is with the CIA and NSA. Trump won't pardon him, he says: “You have to be realistic about who controls the White House. There’s a disproportionate influence over the White House from Defense, CIA, and NSA, as seen by the Flynn affair.”
Military contracts are in limbo, especially “the $1 billion Syria destabilisation fund”. The military and intelligence complexes are at war with the Trump administration, and "this is unprecedented".
Right now the American empire is the least of Assange's problems. Ecuador's presidential election is close and the right-wing opposition wants Assange out of the embassy.
Locked in the Ecuadorian Embassy for more than four years, the fight for his freedom is beyond Kafkaesque. The Swedish case was never prosecuted and is now a moot point and “probably [the right wing candidate] Lasso will win” but the Geneva Convention may still protect Assange.
“As a radical left state, Ecuador has done some great things. They have renegotiated foreign oil contracts and distributed 80% of the money. Ecuador is like family to me.”
If asked to leave a hostile embassy, would Australia help? Assange says the Australian state is “completely useless” and “schizophrenic”. “Australia doesn’t exist as a state, doesn’t have a language, wiped out a race, the Aboriginals [sic] don’t have a voice. It doesn’t have a diplomatic head and instead subordinates its foreign policy to the US.”
Assange equally mocks the British class system, saying it is “weak”. For all the millions spent on technology the “hopeless” British intelligence services surrounding the embassy, cannot stop the infamous Australian. Assange gleefully says: “We got Edward Snowdon from Hong Kong to Russia. Right under the noses of the intelligence community.”
Millions of pounds in security, Prism-NSA control of the global internet and internet blackouts can seemingly not stop Wikileaks receiving, and publishing, a mountain of leaks every day. The spy bureaucracy cannot compete with a man who seems to be all-knowing. “Think about the bureaucracy as second rate analysts in the state, in 1980s buildings, with 1980 infrastructure. They are utterly hopeless.”
It’s a catch me if you can attitude, which will no doubt continue to infuriate Washington and London.