Quote Bank

“The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.  And we are, as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, secret oaths and to secret proceedings.We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are sited to justify it.”

President John F Kennedy

“In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

George Orwell

“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the messages and myths that surround it.”

John Pilger

The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops.” — John Perry Barlow

“Formerly, back in the days of Orwell, every power could be conceived of as a Big Brother watching over its subjects’ every move. The Orwellian prophecy came completely true once the powers that be could monitor every phone call made by the citizen, every hotel he stayed in, every toll road he took and so on and so forth. The citizen became the total victim of the watchful eye of the state. But when it transpires, as it has now, that even the crypts of state secrets are not beyond the hacker’s grasp, the surveillance ceases to work only one-way and becomes circular. The state has its eye on every citizen, but every citizen, or at least every hacker – the citizens’ self-appointed avenger – can pry into the state’s every secret.” — Umberto Eco

“News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” ~ Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

‎”If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

The following is a compilation of quotes from Julian Assange speaking as a representative of WikiLeaks.

These quotes were compiled by Anita Wirawan from speeches/interviews and are published on her blog. WACA thanks Anita for creating this resource.

Anita states –

“It’s a simple and interesting way to see the ideas of Wikileaks and also many of the deep insights that leaked documents (and the subsequent reactions to them) have provided.  There are currently 63 quotes available. Newest quotes are first.”

Julian Assange Speaks:

“(About the Afghan War Diary) And to some degree it is of such scope that it eclipses the economic ability of the press to go through it. It’s going to require not just the press but all interested parties to understand this material”

“And that is why we have endeavored to put it into a format that is easy for people to go through and comprehend” (source)

“If journalism is good it is controversial by its nature.” (source)

“It is the role of good journalism to take on powerful abuses.” (source)

“(A Little Bit Of Effort) There’s enormous pressures to harmonize freedom of speech legislation and transparency legistation around the world -within the EU, between China and the United States. Which way is it gonna go? It’s hard to see. That’s why it’s an interesting time to be in because with a just little bit of effort we can shift it one way or the other.” (source)

“Capable generous men do not create victims, they nurture victims.” (source)

“(About His Personal Core Values) Capable generous men do not create victims, they nurture victims. That’s something from my father and something from other capable, generous men that have been in my life … and I’m a combative person so I’m not actually so big on the nurture (laughs). But there is another way of nurturing victims which is to police perpetrators of crime.” (source)

“Which country is suffering from too much freedom of speech? Name it, is there one?” (source)

“(The Aim Of Wikileaks)  The aim of Wikileaks is to achieve just reform around the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency.

Our particular view on the mechanism of transparency is to selectively go after material that is concealed. Because organizations that have material and want to conceal it are giving off a signal that they believe there will be reform if that material is released.

So we can do things very efficiently by selectively trying to get that material and stick that into the public intellectual record where it can be used by everyone to inform their decisions.” (source)

“The aim of Wikileaks is to achieve just reform around the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency.” (source)

“Our particular view on the mechanism of transparency is to selectively go after material that is concealed. Because organizations that have material and want to conceal it are giving off a signal that they believe there will be reform if that material is released.” (source)

“…we in the West have deluded ourselves into believing that we actually have a truly free press. We don’t. And we can see that in the difference between what Wikileaks does and what the rest of the press does.” (source)

“(Unprofitable) And now we see that the function of censorship has also been privatized.  And what that means is that litigious billionares and big companies are able to effectively prevent certain things appearing in public.  Or reduce the number of those things appearing in public by using the legal system or by using patronage networks and economic flows to make it unprofitable to talk about certain things most of the time.” (source)

“We know for sure that one big media company in the US had the ‘Collateral Murder’ video for years and did not release it.” (source)

“(Why do journalists censor themselves?) …I think there is a fear about the response from those people who are offended…

…And the journalists think that, incredibly, that it would not be in their career interests to pursue that material. So even if they’re personally interested in the material they think perhaps the editors would not approve.” (source)

“(Too Late) So secret planning is secret usually for a reason, because if it’s abusive it is opposed.  It is our task to find secret abuse plans and expose them where they can be opposed before they’re implemented. Because if they’re exposed by the implementation -by people suffering from that abuse- then the abuse has already occurred and it’s too late.” (source)

“It is impossible to correct abuses unless we know that they’re going on.”(source)

“In this broader framework of what we do it is to try and build an historical record, an intellectual record, of how civilization actually works in practice.” (source)

“If we don’t have Western countries as a beacon on the hill for enlightenment values what countries are left to hold that value?” (source)

“(Privatized Censorship) We should not be too proud about our sense that there is no state censorship, because we have privatized state censorship. We have made it more complex and not as obvious. …the brutality is hidden in its complexity.” (source)

“(Unequal Access) Censorship also is not only a mechanism that is employed by the state it is something that can be hijacked by wealthy plutocrats, by big companies to use the coercive mechanisms of the state through the judicial system -through unequal access to the judicial system- through patronage networks have material removed permanently from the historical record.” (source)

“(Secret Gag Orders) In the UK right now there are 300 secret gag orders. Those are gag orders that not only prevent the press from reporting corruption and abuse, they prevent the press from -reporting- the press has been gagged.” (source)

“That endeavor has been successful in putting over a million restricted documents into the historical record that weren’t there before. That’s more pages of information than is in Wikipedia.” (source)

“(one way Wikileaks successfully defends against litigation) …by using every trick in the book that multinational companies use to route money through tax havens -instead we route information.” (source)

“We have, in the process, become the publisher of last resort.” (source)

“Censorship in the West is also a problem. And censorship in the West is used to legitimize censorship in other countries.” (source)

“When countries and organizations fight to suppress things you know you have a foot in the door, you know you have a chance for reform. In other countries where information seems to be free maybe actually the basic structures are so locked up that it’s going to be hard to make an effect.”(source)

“(Complexity Tax) I think fiscal relationships have been engineered in such a way that they’re complex and opaque. …How can people become angry with information that’s that complex? It’s hard. You have to work a lot harder as a journalist to turn that into an emotionally impactful story. So that’s a kind of tax on powerful revelation.” (source)

“…it’s much harder to affect fiscal relationships through free speech than it is to affect political relationships.” (source)

“…the basic structural relationships in highly developed Western countries are fiscal, they’re not political.” (source)

“We’re a specialist publisher. Our speciality is the hardest publishing case -where publishing includes how people get material to the public and how they keep it up before the public.” (source)

“Gag orders are easy to deal with, we just need somewhere in the world that is happy to reveal the gag order about somewhere else in the world.”(source)

“We’re the canary in the coal mine because we take the hardest publishing cases.” (source)

“All media is going on to the internet. All old media and new media.”(source)

“There is globalization occurring that is leading to interaction -fast interaction- between states and legal jurisdictions that was previously slow and non-existent. That pressure is driving the tendency to harmonization of legal regimes.” (source)

“(about the UK) Is that really a liberal democracy, where the press has secret gag orders?” (source)

“We got hold of NATO’s master narrative for Afghanistan. Now this is something that may come as a surprise to you that NATO even has a master narrative?” (source)

“If you feel like you’re about to be injuncted give us the material and tell us when you’re publishing it and we’ll publish it at the same time. And that will undermine the attempt to take it down.” (source)

“(Ten Minutes) That night RUV, the national broadcaster of Iceland, decided to make this document and it’s contents their major segment for the evening, their first and major segment for their 7pm broadcast.

It’s 6:55pm an injunction landed on their newsdesk saying that they couldn’t say anything about the content whatsoever. But they had nothing else to say. And I suppose they in living memory had never had this situation happen before.  So instead…they just left up our front page (Wikileaks website) for about ten minutes on Icelandic tv.” (source)

“Documents like this perform a legitimate role, even if it’s not something you can see occurring in public.” (source)

“(talking about an important document that was ignored by mainstream media) What I feel is that even if the media doesn’t work this thing is here for historians, this thing is there for those countries that are subject to their governments being undermined.” (source)

“…that hasn’t been picked up, why not? It’s current policy.” (source)

“…that hasn’t been picked up, why not? It’s current policy. It says in this manual that the Geneva Convention says one thing but…US military policy is to do something else.” (source)

“(Media Economy) Here’s an example of something that wasn’t picked up. And why things like this are not picked up is very very interesting and tells us something about our media economy.” (source)

“I don’t think it’s possible for systematic administrative injustice to occur without written records.” (source)

“…with primary sources there is so much you can do to undo that kind of deception, when it’s black and white and in policy.” (source)

“(Undoing Deception) …the main manual for Guantanamo Bay, in fact two editions, which reveal that black and white as a matter of policy that the guards there were to hide people and everyone who came in for the first month, from the Red Cross.

And they were to forge the paperwork, allow the Red Cross through, that they had certain sections that were ‘show prisons’.

And when this came out the spokesperson for Guantanamo Bay denied the whole thing and said ‘That was then, it’s all changed.’ And as a result of that another source came forward and gave us the next year’s manual and showed no actually it had gotten worse.

So with primary sources there is so much you can do to undo that kind of deception, when it’s black and white and in policy.” (source)

“…in fact the exchange rates of Western countries are pumped up by the looting and thievery from the developing world.” (source)

“(about Wikileaks) From our perspective we are an international public service. We represent sources and journalists in the same way that lawyers represent people who are going before court.” (source)

“Political reforms are driven by fresh information.” (source)

“There can be no useful reportage unless the journalist has a fresh source.” (source)

“The primary driver of reforms that wouldn’t have otherwise happened is unauthorized disclosures.” (source)

“…actually getting documents is not so hard, the problem is publishing them and keeping them up in the face of attacks -both economic and legal.”(source)

“And while some people have to be public, what we really encourage is for other people to not be martyrs but to give us material. Keep your job, sit down and relax, let us do the work. We’ll protect you as best we can and we have never lost anyone so far.” (source)

“We have protected people through technical processes, through legal processes, and most importantly through public sanction against attack.”(source)

“In all these cases there’s complex layers as to why people do things. Including attacks on us which seem like they might backfire but actually are in deeper analysis are a forced move by intelligence agencies or corporations or groups of lawyers that have attempted to sue us in different jurisdictions.” (source)

“(The Difference Between Sunshine Press And Wikileaks) Sunshine Press is a network of journalists, activists, lawyers, and some individual donors who made some money in the tech revolution. And Wikileaks is the platform that we use to try and realise our ideal.” (source)

“If tribunals try to hide their sources of funding then at the very outset we have to be suspicious about their conclusions.” (source)

“The West through it’s own corruption supports and extends corruption in developing countries.” (source)

“(about Wikileaks) We try to tackle the hardest cases in publishing in the world…and succeed.” (source)

“(about the US system of justice) …I would not say that there is inherent justice. There is a possibility of justice and that’s very important, that’s not true everywhere.” (source)

“(about Wikileaks) We’re a specialist publisher.” (source)

“(Illusions) What I have seen over the past two years of the way of being leaking and disclosing documents to the public en masse is very different to what I saw as a journalist before.

I thought I was hard bitten and cynical and had seen a lot of the world, but what I discovered is that actually I was very ignorant. And what most people see is an illusion.

Because what most people get is news that comes from press releases. Or it’s news that even comes from a human rights organization that is writing news in part to tell you something but also in part to keep its funding. And that most information that comes to you is targeted at you. It is designed in some small way to manipulate you, so it is a deviation from the truth.

But the internal documents of major corporations and intelligence agencies and governments are designed for their internal use. For some internal process that is occurring, some internal logistical structure. They’re not designed to manipulate you. And because of that difference in perceived audience you can start to see how major organizations work, and it’s not how people think they work -it’s something different.

And if we are to produce a more civilized society, a more just society, it has to be based upon the truth. Because judgements which are not based upon the truth can only lead to outcomes which are themselves false.” (source)

“What does censorship reveal? It reveals fear.” (source)


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