Julian Assange has said he is not bored after spending two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK and that he doesn’t have enough time to sleep.
He answered questions on what he thought was the most important piece of information Wikileaks has leaked, as well as saying Edward Snowden performed an “intelligent and heroic act” when he leaked internal security documents from the NSA.
The Wikileaks founder was answering questions as part of a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), where members of the community are invited to ask questions of a noteworthy participant.
In answering a question on what he does all day in the embassy, he said: “I only wish there was a risk of boredom in my present situation.
“Besides being the centre of a pitched, prolonged diplomatic standoff, along with a police encirclement of the building I am in and the attendant surveillance and government investigations against myself and my staff, I am in one of the most populous cities in Europe, and everyone knows my exact location.”
In total he posted 11 comments in response to those from users of the social media site. Overall there were more than 4,600 comments left on the thread in just over an hour.
The AMA came on the second anniversary of Assange hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK.
He entered the embassy in June 2012 as he tried to avoid being extradited to Sweden.
Assange entered the embassy due to accusations that he sexually assaulted two women in Stockholm. He fears that if he were to go to Sweden he would be extradited to the US in relation to state secrets revealed by Wikileaks.
The official Wikileaks twitter account, which has more than two million followers tweeted that he was participating in the AMA – as a verification that it was actually Assange answering questions.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 19, 2014
The best of the questions and answers
Q: We are screaming for change, but what steps can we take?
A: … What can ordinary people do? Support and promote projects that are acting at scale. WikiLeaks is my realisation of this tension, but there are a flood of others starting. The clash between diversity and global uniformity which has been created by wiring the world to itself is now in play. You are the troops.
Q: What would you say was the most important piece of information you have leaked?
A: Our ongoing PLUSD series, which contains more than two million cables, has had by far the most impact and continues to be used in court cases and elections every week. You can search it here.
Q: If you had a chance to do this all again, would you, and what changes would you make?
A: Again – definitely; we only live once and every day spent living your principles is a day at liberty. It is clear that history is on our side. Most of our difficult decisions are constrained by resource limits, not ideas. But I was ignorant about the extent of Sweden’s geopolitical reliance with the United States and to some extent the structure of UK society. You can read about that here.
Q: How do you think history will remember you, and how do you feel about that?
A: For presidents it is important, but for the rest of us it is more important to get things done and see your legacy in the world. We’re doing well in the more academic or comprehensive histories and outside the worst aspects of the English speaking mainstream press. Smears don’t have much staying power on their own because they deviate from the foundations of reality (what actually happened). They require constant energy from our opponents to keep going. The truth has a habit of reasserting itself.
Q: Why did you start Wikileaks? [paraphrased]
A: Confidential government documents we have published disclose evidence of war crimes, criminal back-room dealings and sundry abuses. That alone legitimates our publications, and that principally motivates our work. Secrecy was never intended to enable criminality in the highest offices of state. Secrecy is, yes, sometimes necessary, but healthy democracies understand that secrecy is the exception, not the rule.
Featured image courtesy of Ars Electronica via Flickr/Creative Commons Licence
Assange image courtesy of Bedingungen ansehen via Wikipedia/Creative Commons Licence