Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has vowed to fight on until the “shadow state” has been exposed and people are free to speak without censorship, despite troubles hitting the site in recent months.
Appearing live by satellite at the Sydney Opera House for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Assange said his whistleblowing site had “only just begun”.
“We have put into the historic record less than one-thousandth of the information that is concealed that needs to be there," he said.
Reflecting on his time in London’s Wandsworth prison almost a year ago, Assange said Wikileaks had emerged from its massive disclosure of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables a boat, torpedoed and struggling to stay afloat.
Its crew had been arrested but its captain, Assange, was not dead yet, he said.
If Assange were to front the US, he believed he would be on trial in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia where the jury would be drawn from the heartland of US defence contractors and government officials.
Assange said Wikileaks and others like it would force governments to become more transparent, or Baulkanise and be dimished.
“Could secretive organisations once exposed go to oral communications, could they take everything on paper? Yes they could, but their efficiency would go down.”
Baulkanised agencies would be less effective and unable to compete for skilled staff.
“This is one of the goals of Wikileaks,” Assange said.
Assange was doubtless of his cause. His enemy was a “transnational security complex run amok”.
This was a tenebrous state effort to undermine and ultimately destroy Wikileaks, according to its founder. Officially, governments had not taken action against the organisation but intelligence agencies and big business had worked to rob it of its influence and power.
Assange said the “most serious counter attack, much more serious even than that by intelligence agencies, has been an extrajudicial financial blockade ... set up by Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Bank of America, and Western Union,” to ban payments to Wikileaks.
He accused the financial providers of being “instruments of the shadow state”, noting that the only formal inquiry was conducted by the US Government treasury which found no lawful reason to add Wikileaks to a “US financial blockade” in January.
“Everyone in this audience has presumably a Mastercard or Visa card in their wallet ... this is a symbol of US foreign policy that is affecting your actions right now,” Assange said.