Lange bevor Edward Snowden Beweise lieferte, hatte Julian Assange vor Facebook & Co als staatliche “Spionage-Maschine” gewarnt. Via Liveschalte aus London erklärte er im November 2012 den Besuchern des ConventionCamp Hannover, wie das Internet benutzt wird, um uns zu überwachen – alles in der Hoffnung, flachgelegt zu werden.
Es gibt Interviews, an die man sich noch lange erinnert. Mein Gespräch mit Julian Assange vor 8 Monaten ist so ein Fall. Ingo Stoll von der Agentur neuwaerts war es gelungen, Assange als Eröffnungs-Speaker für das ConventionCamp Hannover zu gewinnen. Im Anschluss daran sollte ich ihm ein paar Fragen stellen – zum Internet, zur Freiheit, zu WikiLeaks.
Weder ich, noch die ca. 3000 Zuschauer im Saal hatten die leiseste Ahnung, dass die Verschwörungstheorien, mit denen uns Assange an diesem Nachmittag konfrontierte, sich bald als zutreffend heraustellen sollten. Als ich das Transkript des Interviews am Wochenende für eine Recherche erneut las, war ich baff. Prism, die Verselbständigung der Geheimdienste, die Beteiligung von Facebook & Co – all das hatte er vorweg genommen.
Hier Julian Assange vom 27. November 2012 im Wortlaut:
Gutjahr: First of all we appreciate you taking the time for this interview here at the ConventionCamp 2012. I’m sure that all the people in the audience would like to hear more and learn more about your vision of the Utopia and Dystopia that you are just talking about. You were just referring to the web as the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism you have ever seen. In your opinion how long are we still speaking about a free internet, are we in other words, the last generation of truly free people?
Assange: Well not truly free, we are gone past that. There’s a question as to whether in fact as a matter of sort of an empirical fact whether we have already gone over the edge or not. It’s not entirely saying, we are past the point of no return. But the reality is, even declared US Congress, The National Security Agency for example intercepts 1.7 billion communications today as of last year. Companies from South Africa can read all about this in the release of [bad sound – indecipherable] files. There are all over the world, sell nationwide interception systems to intercept the entire telecommunication, that could have entire countries and store it permanently. The new game in the international mass surveillance industry, is to intercept everything and store it permanently because it’s cheaper. It is cheaper in selecting targets to simply record all people all the time.
The new game in the international mass surveillance industry, is to intercept everything and store it permanently because it’s cheaper.
Gutjahr: You said the internet can be used against us to enslave us. I still don’t get who is actually the enemy we are talking about. Who is the one who is fighting us, is it the state, is it a state within a state?
Assange: It is … I used the state in my speech as a sort of convenient description. But the states now are extremely complex. So we are not talking about the classical definition of government. What we are speaking about in practice how things actually occur, is a merger between the traditional cohesive powers of government, large corporations that fill parts if the contracting industry like North [bad sound – indecipherable] CSIC, these corporations, transparently interact, in the case United States and most of NATO with government, people go smoothly from within government to within these corporations. Most of the work is carried out by these corporations, they have vast cronyistic networks and across shareholdings. There is people amongst the establishment cashed up with shareholdings and [indecipherable], there’s family involved. So this is rather fluid transnational establishment and is developed in the last ten years in west that doesn’t comply itself with anyone particular group, in anyone particular center.
Gutjahr: Your simple statements are that Facebook, I quote: “Facebook is a CIA spying machine”. What do you mean by that?
Assange: It is interesting to look at the penetration of East Germany by the Stasi. In the biggest it’s saying that up to one in ten people in East Germany was an informer. While countries like Iceland which had 88% Facebook penetration; 88% of people are informers. Now they are not paid in cash. Instead they are paid in social credits. They find out information about their friends and they are paid by, well you know, getting laid.
Gutjahr: I am sorry what was that, by getting laid?
Assange: By getting laid.
Gutjahr: You mean like sexual –
Assange: They find out who is single, who is available etcetera and that’s how….
Assange: And their probable exclusion from being… from getting laid is what has pushed most people to Facebook and turn them all into informers on their friends. So all that information travels in the United States and is stored in vast warehouses. Where US Intelligence has access to it. It’s a reality. Not just US intelligence but US law enforcement.
Gutjahr: You are referring to the Patriot Act?
Assange: Not just the Patriot.. there is many of these acts. There is about sixteen that are used. Facebook even discloses occasionally. I mean orders and requests it has had directly. But it’s a great burden on these companies to constantly fulfill these sort of lawful interception requirements. So they automate the process as much as possible. By automating it the number of requests pulling information goes up and up and up and up. There is never a requirement for judges in nearly every case of any sort of court over sight. That is gag orders on the requests automatically. So you can’t even – most people can’t even discuss that they receive fund, including Facebook but I mean – within WikiLeaks and our circle of friends we have been fighting many of these requests in US courts. We can look up Twitter cases and similar cases in the Federal Court where records about us have been pulled in this manner from Google. From we leaked also to Facebook. There’s… the records have been sealed in a court and ongoing court battle together from our ISPs, from Twitter, etcetera.
It’s a great burden on … companies to constantly fulfill these sort of lawful interception requirements. So they automate the process as much as possible. By automating it, the number of requests pulling information goes up and up and up and up. There is never a requirement for judges in nearly every case of any sort of court over sight.
Gutjahr: So you are saying we are permanently spied on and people are basically able to read whatever we do online. You were referring to CIA direct, former CIA Director David Petraeus in your key note just a minute ago. He himself got into trouble by using Gmail?
Gutjahr: Right. So I didn’t get that part where as you said the systems starts to eat itself? Like if they are spying against each other and so at the end become their own worst enemy?
Assange: Yeah, it has become so out of control now and the ability for it to spy is that viable factions within this system are using the systems itself against different parts of it, so it is self-triggering. It is not the first time we have seen that. For example another, example in the Pentagon case against us. The Pentagon with its brand new [bad sound – indecipherable: copyism?] about WikiLeaks introduced a mail filter where an email containing the word WikiLeaks is banned from coming in and out of the pentagon automatically.
So if you mention WikiLeaks, the emails don’t go through. And then in the Pentagon’s case against Bradley Manning who is alleged to be one of our sources. It was emailed in people outside the Pentagon in preparing for this case. And of course people responding to those emails would occasionally mention the word WikiLeaks and those emails didn’t even come back into the Pentagon. So the Pentagon’s attempt to prosecute us was self-sabotaged by its surveillance. And since it was Dystopia, where it was censoring any email with the word WikiLeaks.
Gutjahr: So am I in danger now talking to you?
Assange: That’s an interesting question actually. Of course you are not in danger that way. You are all been spied upon all the time, when you use the internet and it’s been permanently recorded. But yeah a large number of our associates have been detained or have their email, had their Gmail pulled out of the records pulled. One shouldn’t go too far. The way sort of cohesive pressure has been working predominantly against us is in yes there is a criminal process a very significant one involving sixteen different US agencies. There is 42,000 pages beginning of this year in our FBI file against us.
You are all been spied upon all the time, when you use the internet and it’s been permanently recorded.
It’s some serious business, but it’s more interesting to move away from that classical description and add for example the economic concave against WikiLeaks. Which has cut off 95% of our income. We’ve been fighting this for two years now. Some very positive recent developments including in Germany yesterday. You can read an article in which people asking transparency from this month where it’s revealed that the CDUnion the Interior Minister politically interfered with our tax deductibility in Germany by the Wau Holland Foundation. Which was started in memory of the Germans that lost out a row on to remove charitable status from us in Germany in response to our publication of diplomatic cables.
We have been fighting that two years and have won finally the fights. We are tax deductible again in Germany. And we’ve also found a loophole that means that we are now tax deductible EU-wide. But that’s an example on the way modern censorship works in the west is to target people economically and also other people are hired and sort of extended patronage. In our case things have become rather clear because we are also tied of this very unconventional manner. In the United States we join FBI investigations and publicly declare the CIA task forces and so on.
There are some key players that are taking literally billions of the interceptions per day and storing it forever and applying ever more sophisticated search algorithms to it. This is a massive unparalleled transfer of power. Because information is power.
Gutjahr: Let’s stay in Germany a little bit. For us in Germany privacy is a big issue for obvious reasons. For the young people like the digital natives not only in Germany but all around the world, they don’t seem to have a problem sharing stuff and putting everything in their life online. Could it be that they are actually right and we are wrong with our look at towards privacy?
Assange: Well, if it was the case that everyone had everything. Then I would say that would be interesting. It might be right. So it’s hard to say exactly. But that’s not how it works, there are some key players that are taking literally billions of the interceptions per day and storing it forever and applying ever more sophisticated search algorithms to it. This is a massive unparalleled transfer of power. Because information is power. From the majority of all of us to a particularly nasty warmongering group and their extended greed. So that is the problem and young people don’t see that. For example if you speak about your brother on Facebook and some party that you had when you went to see him, you are not just speaking about yourself, in fact you are speaking about your extended network of people.
And all that information becomes… goes into algorithms that are used to spot particular people. Spot particular conspiracies. Predict people to feed into social media campaigns. And we are only at the very beginning of this merger now. This is really the place of the most intense development. It’s not interception. Bulk interception is here. Most of what we do on the internet if it goes across national boundaries is intercepted. The really important development is what is done with the information there. So how do you scan, how do you search? And how do you automatically go from knowing a lot about everyone in theory, to turning that into particular actions?
Bulk interception is here. Most of what we do on the internet if it goes across national boundaries is intercepted.
So this is where there is rapid, rapid development. And we saw for example in say the Bahrainian revolution that started out with Twitter being a mechanism. A great mechanism for people to in real time have a local debate and an international debate about what was going on in their state. And then the Bahrainian government hired ten western PR agencies and decked out the whole thing with PR agents and bombs which they had been linked to with their articles in and so on. So whenever there is a new technology development it goes through periods of democratisation, adoption by the average person. And then if it actually becomes a serious challenge to various establishments. Though there is on, yes they are slower, yes, they are not really adoptable but they immense resources. So that’s the position we are at now in social media. It is starting, its ability… system application of making thousands of robots to put propaganda on it. And that’s being done by private companies who hire themselves up to the highest bidder and also research contracts that are handed up by the defense advanced research projects agency in the US. They are developing stuff the Pentagon defines programs and so on.
Gutjahr: Let’s come back to the headline of today’s conference ConventionCamp here in Hanover, its Meta Change. It’s Meta Change and the organizers are very proud to announce that they are going to raise money in order to build a school, to help children in Africa to go online. What would you say is the best antidote. What is the remedy of what you are just describing as a Dystopia. So how can we turn a Dystopia into a Utopia?
It is necessary at the very least to protect those people who are involved in stopping society going down – you know going into Dystopia.
Assange: Always you have to start with education. We can’t remove our shackles if we can’t even see them. So we must explain what is going on and demonstrate why that is true. But if you ask: is it possible to stop this from going on, I’m not sure actually whether it is even possible to stop it. I believe that it is possible to stop it for some of us. The people who actually have been educated about it and can use on the one hand use cryptography and so on to protect themselves. And push for those standards and to have mass application, automatic mass application of cryptography build integrated programs that everyone uses to prevent mass surveillance.
But I’m not sure actually that we’ll all get there. But it has always been the case is the worst elements of society the worst tendencies in a society have been kept in check by an activist population and by political educators and by technological educators. So it’s not actually necessary perhaps to protect the bulk of people. It is necessary at the very least to protect those people who are involved in stopping society going down – you know going into Dystopia. It’s not necessarily everyone needs to do that. But there needs to be at least a core element of people, a critical mass of people, that can protect themselves and also in doing so protect others who then political or economical developments.
Gutjahr: Talking about protecting people, final two questions regarding WikiLeaks. When can we expect WikiLeaks to be fully operational again?
Assange: Well, first of all it’s important to understand what WikiLeaks is. So WikiLeaks is a publication by Sunshine Press. Sunshine Press is an organization. It’s the organization that is behind WikiLeaks. So we operate like most journalistic organisations – or perhaps to some degree like some intelligence organisations. We have a variety of methods that we use to get information and we have a rather large variety of methods to use the public information. Which was actually the harder thing to do is to safely robust and publish information. But in terms of full operation, well it’s getting there. You have noticed, later on today we have another press conference in Belgium and also here in London, I hope you pay attention to that. But no we have been in a position where I have had exhibition case objects exhibition case, other people have been detained at airports, the FBI has attempted to bribe them, force people into being informers, offering plea deals, coercively putting people into the grand jury and the jury over the last two years. Finally over the last five months and especially since three months ago I was granted formally political asylum by Ecuador. We have a moment to breath and to go from being defensive to back to our normal state. Which is to be offensive with the things that concern us. So I’m quite pleased about that transition.
Gutjahr: Well, I think our time is up. On behalf of the organisational team and of people here in Hanover the ConventionCamp I once again want to thank you for taking the time for participate today in our conference here, and to give us an opportunity to share your views. Meine Damen und Herren: Julian Assange. [applause] So, thanks Julian. Bye-bye.
Assange: Thank you, bye.
Wichtiger Hinweis: Das Transkript ist mit Rechten verknüpft und steht NICHT unter CC-Lizenz! Bitte respektieren Sie diese Einschränkungen. Originalquelle: PR-Agentur Blog