WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday the United States was taking advantage of a humanitarian crisis in order to engage in military action in Syria.
“They really felt what they needed was for there to be some humanitarian outrage in Syria and once they had it, that would legitimize going in with a big air strike,” Assange said on the Ron Paul Channel — www.ronpaulchannel.com — the subscription-based Internet channel launched last month by the former Texas Republican congressman.
Assange, confined in a room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for more than 1,000 days, clarified that he did not believe the chemical weapons attack was “a fabrication,” but said “it is still possible that the rebels did it.”
“Most of all, for a bigger involvement, they needed a bigger humanitarian outrage to hook it all onto. We have seen that. To be sure it is being taken advantage of,” Assange said. “They did not give a damn about Syrians” until recently.
In the first two installments of a three-part interview with former presidential candidate Ron Paul, Assange addressed a variety of topics from the close ties between Google and the State Department to his philosophical beliefs.
Paul began the interview with Assange about the most controversial issue — whether intelligence is being used improperly to justify action in Syria.
“Haven’t you touched on this subject, of somebody looking for an incident with Syria that would justify all of the countries to come in and the United States government to come in and the British government to come in and do something in Syria?” Paul asked Assange.
Assange has charged that information gathered from 5 million emails WikiLeaks obtained from Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm, indicates military action in Syria may have been planned before the recent chemical attacks.
One email from December 2011 involved a report from “one of their agents meeting with the U.S. Air Force, representatives from the French and British military” on the “game-plan” in Syria.
Assange also views the close relationship between the U.S. government and business and tech contracting firms, such as Google, as a deep concern.
“I’ve been watching Google since it was four computers at Stanford. Google started out as — coming out of that culture, the grad-school culture — pretty humane, a bit naive, and it got bigger and bigger and interfacing with the world. And what happened?” asks Assange.
Because Google needed the State Department to intervene when it had problems or concerns with foreign countries, he says, “As time went by they got closer and closer together.”
Assange says he releases classified documents despite the criticism and potential prosecution he faces because he wants the truth to come out.
“Personally, I don’t like lies. In the Australian context, we would say, ‘It is time to make the bastards honest,'” he says, adding that he likes “a good fight.”
Asked about the philosophy behind WikiLeaks, Assange says it derives from a “philosophical view that every law, every regulation, every constitution — in fact, every decision that we take, even as human individual beings — comes about as a result of what we know and what communications we have.
“So we can only be as good as what we know.”
Assange says that no single one of his disclosures has been the most shocking. “The biggest surprise is the panorama, the scope, that it is done en masse and in so many places,” he said. And that is why he believes his group is so important.
“The way for people to be free and the way for people to seek justice is for there to be more knowledge and more truth about how institutions behave,” says Assange.
Rather than one “Henry Kissinger-esque figure directing geo-political strategy” being a threat, it is the “out-of-control bureaucracy involving state and corporations, [the] National Security Agency,” that is to fear, he says.
“There are some people working in an unthinking, unreasoned process and all the secrecy means is that there is not the proper oversight of what is going on. That to me is what is most concerning,” says Assange.
Responding to charges that the classified information he disclosed has resulted in harm to innocent citizens or to members of the military and intelligence communities, Assange says: “Either the published activity that we engage in gets people killed or it does not. It is a factual question. Well, we have seven years of publishing history and never has one person come to personal harm.”
No one at the State or Defense Department has ever cited a single person who has been hurt as a result of WikiLeaks actions, he said. Assange believes government authorities frequently cite potential harm as a means to distract attention from the truth of the WikiLeaks documents.
“Our facts are indisputable and we have the world’s best record for having never gotten it wrong. We have never released a document that has been misdescribed by us … They couldn’t argue on the grounds that what we say is false.”
Assange is still fighting extradition to Sweden regarding questions in two sexual assault cases there.
Despite his confinement at the Ecuadorean embassy, Assange has been busy, filing a formal complaint to request the Swedish authorities investigate U.S. intelligence activities in Europe.
He also is seeking a seat in the Australian senate, a campaign which this week drew a rebuke from Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.
Responding to a video Assange produced that made fun of his opponents, Correa sent a letter informing him he could campaign, “but without making fun of Australian politicians.”
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By Jennifer G. Hickey