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Julian Assange and Slavoj Žižek
July 3, 2011 5:57 PM   Subscribe

In this conversation, moderated by Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and renowned Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek explore the transparency-advocacy site's three major leaks: the Iraq War Logs, the Guantánamo Bay files and Cablegate. [Two ways to watch: continuous 'live' streaming at The Nation, or a SLYT of the entire 2 hour event...at 42:20 Zizek officially denies the rumors that he's dating Lady Gaga]
posted by thescientificmethhead (50 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Zizek officially denies the rumors that he's dating Lady Gaga

which is the only thing in the conversation most of the media will take notice of...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:04 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most of the media takes notice of Slavoj Žižek?
posted by koeselitz at 6:26 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zizek looks bored.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:33 PM on July 3, 2011


Meanwhile, Wikileaks has decided it doesn't have enough enemies, and says it will sue Visa and Mastercard.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:55 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


hisch shisch esch schish asch deesch
posted by p3on at 7:13 PM on July 3, 2011


btw probably the most important thing in this video is assange saying they haven't release the BoA documents because they're being blackmailed
posted by p3on at 7:14 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Agreed, p3on...and Assange says he can't provide details of the blackmail but that it should be obvious to everyone, whatever that means.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 7:19 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blackmailed WTF Amy go in for the kill, don't let him just throw that shit around.
posted by humanfont at 7:30 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


btw probably the most important thing in this video is assange saying they haven't release the BoA documents because they're being blackmailed

Interesting. I'd like to know what leverage BoA can exert that the US Government can't.
posted by rodgerd at 7:38 PM on July 3, 2011


He says it's the one of the top two or three things you'd think they could be blackmailing him for. The only one I can think of is "Release that information now, and you'll crater the US financial system. The resulting breadlines will be on your head." That, or (just occurred to me, but not seriously) Assange has an underwater mortgage on a Las Vegas McMansion he has been keeping from us.
posted by Coventry at 7:46 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


... moderated by Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and renowned Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek ...

I felt a great disturbance in the MeForce, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in ecstasy and were suddenly invited to a circle jerk.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:46 PM on July 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


I kid, of course. Lovingly.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:47 PM on July 3, 2011


pffft... I'm not even a big fan of Zizek, but he's still way too good for Lady Gaga
posted by Bwithh at 7:50 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He just outright says it, he's being blackmailed? I don't think blackmail works like that.
posted by JHarris at 7:58 PM on July 3, 2011


IIRC he says the documents haven't been released "because of blackmail," not specifically that he is being blackmailed. It's very ambiguous.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:13 PM on July 3, 2011


Just for the record, I would also like to deny any rumors that I am dating Lady Gaga. We're just friends, honest.
posted by webmutant at 8:31 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm. I guess my top two or three guesses on that very interesting blackmail claim would be:

1. BOA has some capacity to withhold financial assets that wikileaks needs
2. They have some capacity to exact reprisals against specific people in wikileak's support structure. Doubt it is Assange individually or a McMansion.

But I have no knowledge or experience with these systems, so I would be very interested in a more educated guess.

I don't think that the threat of breadlines would work. I mean the ideology is that transparency is a salubrious thing right?
posted by SomeOneElse at 8:37 PM on July 3, 2011


Maybe he means the documents haven't been released because he's using them to blackmail someone, and he's using this interview to issue a threat to the target.
posted by The Tensor at 8:38 PM on July 3, 2011


Maybe something like BofA, in conjunction with other institutions, cutting off WikiLeaks ability to use the SWIFT money transfer system. That would mean they couldn't send money between banks etc, they'd have to use cash.
posted by wuwei at 8:54 PM on July 3, 2011


...the ideology is that transparency is a salubrious thing right?
That's the ideology, but it's not an absolute principle. My understanding is that on the advice of mainstream journalists Wikileaks has already withheld sensitive information from the "war logs".
posted by Coventry at 9:03 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I got up early to watch the live stream, and even though there wasn't too much that was new, I'm glad they did it because simply having Assange on stage with a Marxist helps to prevent Wikileaks from being embraced by the liberal mainstream. Zizek is right that the media have their own rules about the proper way to be transgressive and "speaking truth to power" without really disrupting anything.
posted by AlsoMike at 9:04 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ah, now I understand why BoA was in such a big rush to give away $8B+.

They had to get all those people to sign statements that they would relinquish all further claims on BoA before the Wikileaks revelations could hit.

Those revelations must be pretty bad.
posted by jamjam at 9:12 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got up early to watch the live stream, and even though there wasn't too much that was new, I'm glad they did it because simply having Assange on stage with a Marxist helps to prevent Wikileaks from being embraced by the liberal mainstream.

huh? Assange is a free market libertarian and Zizek is A-OK with writing marketing copy for mainstream US corporate branding campaigns. I think the liberal mainstream is more than supple enough to co-opt them both, bwa-ha-ha-ha.
posted by Bwithh at 9:23 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also am not dating Lady Gaga. She just wanted to wear me for an awards show.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:32 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


anyone got a timestamp for the blackmail bit? i'm too knackered to skim through the whole thing...
posted by Bwithh at 9:42 PM on July 3, 2011


*pants, tugs at t shirt*
posted by p3on at 9:42 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the blackmail is pictures of Assange also not dating Lady Gaga.
posted by happyroach at 9:43 PM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bwithh: 1:23:30 in this player. (About 1 hour into the actual conversation; this version has a weird 20 minutes of dead time at the start.) Relevant text:
…We are under a type of blackmail in relation to these documents. It will be dealt with over time, but it is quite difficult to deal with at the moment. So… I don’t want to specify what type of blackmail that is, because it might make it harder to address, ah, the situation, but it is perhaps something like people might guess… You know, there’s a range of possibilities, and it’s probably the first or second possibility if you’re guessing.
posted by Coventry at 9:56 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bwithh, thanks I've read that interview -- do you really want to support your claim that Assange is a free market libertarian with a link where he says "It's not correct to put me in any one philosophical or economic camp"?

As for Zizek, lots of people find him scandalous for various reasons, some true, some not. I don't get baited into defending him, even for the false charges, because mostly they aren't relevant to his thought and anyone who is put off by such things isn't worth trying to persuade anyway.
posted by AlsoMike at 10:00 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not dating Gaga but I am fucking her meatsuit.
posted by symbioid at 10:07 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


After reading the reast of the thread - uh--- I've been fucking you, tumid dahlia? Shit, why didn't you TELL ME!???
posted by symbioid at 10:10 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bwithh, thanks I've read that interview -- do you really want to support your claim that Assange is a free market libertarian with a link where he says "It's not correct to put me in any one philosophical or economic camp"?

Yup! as it is consistent with what Assange is saying in the interview =D
posted by Bwithh at 10:11 PM on July 3, 2011


OK, watched the blackmail bit. Thanks to Coventry.
I'll play Assange's coy "first thing that comes to your mind" guessing game. My guess: BoA put a bunch of private investigators on him and they dug up more awkward sex stuff on Assange. Which delays the promised early 2011 release of the BoA data and triggers more internal tension within Wikileaks over whether Assange should resign as he's become too much of a liability and the organization is far too much shaped as a hierarchy under him anyway. But Assange, naturally, is holding out to the last possible moment.
posted by Bwithh at 10:20 PM on July 3, 2011


[A] free market ends up as monopoly unless you force them to be free.

Considering the implications of this statement, he doesn't sound much like a conventional libertarian to me... but then I know very little about the man.
posted by klanawa at 10:51 PM on July 3, 2011


oneswellfoop: "which is the only thing in the conversation most of the media will take notice of..

In the media's defense: Julian Assange Assanging around in yet another media outlet is far less interesting than the idea of pop culture's foremost revolutionary being an item with an avante garde philosopher who uses pop culture as one of his foremost lenses. The depth of insight that would provide in the work of both figures would be insanely compelling.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:17 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


My guess: BoA put a bunch of private investigators on him and they dug up more awkward sex stuff on Assange.

Yeah, that'd be in my top few guesses, along with someone having found enough evidence about the identities of some of Wikileaks' informants to destroy them.
posted by hattifattener at 11:45 PM on July 3, 2011


pop culture's foremost revolutionary

what
posted by jjoye at 11:55 PM on July 3, 2011


Maybe the blackmail is just that they'll kill him if he releases the information.
posted by jet_manifesto at 12:52 AM on July 4, 2011


Often we find that all these left wing bloggers do not descend on a fresh cable from Panama, revealing, as it did today, that the United States has declared the right to board 1/3 of all ships in the world, rather they read the front page of the New York Times, and go "I disagree", or "I agree", or "I agree and my cat agrees"
I agree and if I had a cat my cat would agree.
posted by idiopath at 1:20 AM on July 4, 2011


Interesting. I'd like to know what leverage BoA can exert that the US Government can't.

You say that like it implies they're not the same entity (in terms of both offering the other whatever leverage they have) :-)
It seems possible that the answer is "the reach of the US government", in that it took weeks for the USA to figure out an effective countermeasure to wikileaks, and the BoA is the first major beneficiary of those actions.
posted by anonymisc at 2:31 AM on July 4, 2011


I was never dating Lady Gaga. Not my fault that if a one-night-stand gets misinterpreted.
posted by anonymisc at 2:38 AM on July 4, 2011


The first thing I thought of for the blackmail is that the justice system Assange is working with is corrupt and he's been threatened with an extradition to the USA that he knows can be made to happen. "I will make it legal!"

My second thought is that I'd be disappointed if wikileaks was sufficiently under the thumb of Assange that it can be controlled via threats against him.

My third thought is that Assange has put infinitely more on the line than me, and I honestly couldn't blame him one whit for refusing to put on the table the final slivers of personal freedom that he still has left.
posted by anonymisc at 2:57 AM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I had wondered about the the BofA material too.
posted by jadepearl at 3:42 AM on July 4, 2011


Also interesting in the interview is that Assange says he spoke to Daniel Ellsberg, who told him that the NY Times had the Pentagon Papers a month before he leaked them but only chose to publish them when it was clear that they were going to come out anyway (because of Ellsberg's doing).
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:56 AM on July 4, 2011


Blackmail doesn't have to be about you in order to work. Perhaps there's someone Assange loves dearly, or respects, or whatever. So even if Assange has nothing to hide, maybe he respects someone else's right to a personal life.
posted by circular at 8:10 AM on July 4, 2011


I'm not not dating Lady Gaga.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:51 AM on July 4, 2011


The WikiLeaks You Missed: From blatant bribery in India to Hugo Chávez’s war on Domino’s pizza, here are the highlights from the last four months of the secret State Department cables.
posted by homunculus at 8:56 AM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The motives of Bradley Manning
posted by homunculus at 3:08 PM on July 4, 2011


The simplest and most destructive thing the banks could do to wikileaks would be to turn them into a cash-only organization. Wikileaks needs the cooperation of banks in order to have a budget and receive donations.
posted by idiopath at 3:40 PM on July 4, 2011


Julian Assange tries 'silent' strategy in court fight to beat extradition: WikiLeaks founder claims arrest warrant is invalid as lawyers argue his sexual encounters were 'disturbing but not illegal'
posted by homunculus at 6:53 PM on July 12, 2011


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