Listen: Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange
Posted on May 5, 2013
Clip 2: Julian Assange shares his thoughts on the Bradley Manning case.
Chris Hedges: Was there anything in the Manning statement that struck you in particular, surprised you?
Julian Assange: Everything [laughter].
CH: Oh Really? OK.
JA: That has to be my answer.
CH: We were there, and it was so moving. Oh my god, it was so moving. It just broke your heart. It was really—
Assange’s attorney Michael Ratner: Incredible.
CH: Yeah, it really was. And he was so poised.
MR: Oh, it was remarkable!
CH: It was really remarkable, articulate.
JA: I thought the mainstream media … what I call—I have different phrases for this beast. I think this week I’m on ‘the old media.’ The old media portrayal of him was to remove any heroic qualities from him. And a heroic quality is deciding to do something, as opposed to it being an unconscious, unreasoned expression of madness or sexual frustration or whatever. No one can follow in—you can’t follow in anyone’s footsteps, unless the person you’re following has made choices, and you might be—if they’ve made choices and they’ve done certain things, then you might be able to choose also to do that. But if you’ve done things because you were a mad homosexual, and no one can choose to be a mad homosexual. So they stripped him of—attempted to strip him of all his refinements.
CH: You know, I know exactly—
JA: You could say, look, he’s a rare event. Why does a rare event happen? Well, what do we know? Most people weren’t able to do this. Let’s say whoever this person was, if the idea is that it’s Bradley Manning, what do we know about Bradley Manning? We know that he won three science fairs, or we know the guy is bright. We know that he was interested in politics early on, and he’s very articulate, and outspoken, and didn’t like lies. And we know that he was interested in the state of the world. And we know that he was skilled at his job of being an intelligence analyst. And these things suggest that if you’re going to say, what, be careful, that the combination of abilities and motivations that might cause an action, here are talents and virtues that could perceivably give rise to the phenomenon. But instead people go … they look at all the, ya know, they say, “Oh, he’s a homosexual—this is the answer.” Ten percent, 10 percent, of the U.S. military are homosexuals; at least 50 percent are from broken homes. OK? You take those two factors together, that gets you down to say 5 percent; explanatory power, there’s 5 million people with active security clearances, so you’re down to what, 25? No, you’re down to 250,000 people. You’ve got to get down from 250,000 to one, now.
CH: Well, I mean, the easy way to survive in the media is to adopt the dominant stereotype and run with it, and if you challenge the stereotype—I’m just speaking as somebody who’s been inside that organization—you as a reporter, are going to catch a lot of shit from your editors, but most importantly from the other reporters, who peddle this crap. And so there became, they very skillfully created a kind of false persona, obviously completely false.
JA: It’s this East Coast—I think it’s because like Freud got into the East Coast [laughter] of the U.S., and then they started working with the sons and daughters of rich people who were disturbed. And so then it became a status icon to have a psychiatrist. I mean, how absurd is it, how absurd is it that on the East Coast of the U.S., to be a proper successful person, as a woman you have to have a psychiatrist, and as a man you have to have a lawyer?
(Return to page one for clip one).
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