My Exclusive Interview with WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

on MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show 12/22/2010

CENK UYGUR, GUEST HOST: First, our exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who sparked a global uproar with his release of hundreds of thousands of pages of secret government documents and diplomatic cables, information ranging from the outrageous -- we had innocent and unarmed reporters and Iraqi civilians being killed by U.S. troops -- to the downright embarrassing, comments about the hard partying and the corruption of different world leaders.

Not long after that latest release, Assange found himself in legal trouble in Sweden. But not for any reasons having to do with the leaks. Instead, he was booked on a series of sex charges.

With the help of people like the American filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore, Mr. Assange is now out on bail and speaking out to us.

Let's now go to Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, England, where Julian Assange is currently on house arrest.

Julian, great to have you with us.


UYGUR: All right, the first question I have for you, Julian, is do you consider yourself a member of the press?

Are you a journalist?

ASSANGE: Well, I have been a member of the Australian press union for many years. I co-authored my first book when I was 25 and have been involved in setting up the -- the very fabric of the Internet in Australia since 1993 as a publisher.

So quite interesting that this is something that is being raised.

It's -- it's actually a quite deliberate attempt to split off our organization from the First Amendment protections that are afforded to all publishers.

There's more...

Progressives: The Point Is Working Families, Not Keith Olbermann

I agree that MSNBC's suspension of Keith Olbermann was akin to a kindergarten teacher telling a five-year-old to go stand in the corner for putting gum underneath his seat. I happen to believe there's no such thing as a person or a company--journalist, or media company, or anything or anyone else--who comes without an opinion. For a few days, Progressive bloggers across the country have been making hay of Olbermann's wrist-slap, and not a few have complained that the whole silly affair has taken the news spotlight off the needs of un- and underemployed Americans.

So, nu? Doesn't anyone else see the irony there?

There's more...

What Democrats Have Done Past Two Years: Make History

If you want to know what President Obama and the Democratic Party has done in the past two years — while making history — these two videos are a MUST watch:  Rachel Maddow

What Democrats Have Done Past Two Years: Make History

If you want to know what President Obama and the Democratic Party has done in the past two years — while making history — these two videos are a MUST watch:  Rachel Maddow

Ban Glenn Beck from Ground Zero

The logic, if there is any, of the conservative critics of the Park51 Project is that a mosque anywhere near Ground Zero would be terribly offensive to the 9/11 victims' families. Well, you know who is a lot more offensive to the families of 9/11 victims -- Glenn Beck.

Beck has said in the past that he "hates" the 9/11 families. He said on his program in 2005 that he is "so sick of them." That they should just "shut up" because they are "always complaining."

That seems so harsh that it literally seems unbelievable. Well, listen for yourself:


So, if we're banning things from near Ground Zero, then banning Glenn Beck makes more sense than anything else. The Park51 Project is actually trying to heal wounds, spread a moderate form of Islam and reach out to everyone in the community. And they certainly have never said anything nearly as offensive about the 9/11 victims or their families as Beck has.

Plus, Beck works for the man who apparently funded the Park51 Project, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. So, if the same man who is funding the mosque is funding Beck (as the second largest shareholder in Fox News, Prince Alwaleed is in essence signing Beck's paychecks). And if Beck thinks that the mosque should be banned from the area because of its questionable funding, shouldn't Beck also be banned under the same logic?

So, for all of these reasons, it makes all the sense in the world to start a movement now to Ban Glenn Beck from Ground Zero. I hope you'll join me. So, if you see him anywhere around there, tell him to "Get! Get!"

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