Latest News

JULIAN ASSANGE interviewed on The Huffington Post

September 30, 2014

HP: Could Google keep its current business model while also making it impossible for the NSA to access its data, or is it baked into the business model?

JA:As long as Google is operating its current business model and runs out of the U.S. jurisdiction, it cannot protect people from the National Security Agency or the FBI, or other arms of the U.S. government.

Read the full interview on The Huffington Post.

THE JIHADIS RETURN reviewed in Peace News

September 30, 2014

If you want a concise, thoughtful background briefing on the ISIS crisis, this is it – written by a journalist with three decades of experience in the region. This is a compelling account of how the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has managed to conquer an area the size of Britain. Patrick Cockburn knew something was coming: he nominated Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, as the Independent’s ‘man of the year’ for the Middle East on 1 January, days before ISIS took over the Iraqi city of Fallujah, and six months before ISIS electrified the world by taking over Iraq’s second city, Mosul.

Read the full review on Peace News


September 29, 2014

Tariq Ali: Yeah. So, coming to the key thing now. You’ve written that the Skykes-Picot agreement has probably finally finished. This was the agreement after the First World War whereby Ottoman lands in the Arab world were divided up between France and Britain. But Patrick, you may be right. In 2006 I felt that there was no future for Iraq as a state because of what had happened and you’d probably have a Shia state and a pro-Saudi Sunni state and a Kurdish state. Do you think this is going to happen now in some shape or form over the next five years?

Patrick Cockburn: In some shape, but not exactly, you know I don’t think map-makers are going to sort of have the borders of their new states there. But I think you’ll effectively have three sovereign states in Iraq. And you do have that already. I mean, you’re a Shia in Baghdad. If I’m in Baghdad, I can’t go an hour North of Baghdad without having my head chopped off. Likewise a Kurd in the North and likewise any Sunni who tries to come through any checkpoint in Baghdad or into Kurdistan is likely to be arrested…

Read the full interview on Counter Punch

Transcript of highlights from WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS launch provided by Long Island Press

September 29, 2014

“If Chevron or Lockheed Martin had written down what its vision for the future of the world is, and how it’s going to bring it about and how it was shaping up and the nature of its, some of the nature of its relationships, a book that has on the back of it pre-publication endorsements by Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, Tony Blair and the former head of the National Security Agency and CIA [General Michael] Hayden, we would be quite concerned and there would be political scholars, like Noam Chomsky, trying to understand what that meant,” explained Assange.

“But because Google has successfully—up until about a year ago—successfully positioned itself as a playful thing, their colored logo presenting itself under the eyeballs of people around the world more than a billion times a day, a playful thing, like it is a playroom, with soft, curved [thoughts] and soft toys, a place where we can go to look at things, a place that provides information for free, we have come to think of it as something that is helpful, or an assistant, a tap, a magical angel that disgorges helpful and useful information and not an organization like every other organization,” he continued. “Not an organization which spends now more money lobbying with Washington, DC than Lockheed Martin. Not an organization which has engaged in contracts with the National Security Agency since 2003…. And not an organization with a revolving door between the US State Department and Google and between the White House and Google.”

Read full coverage of the launch at Long Island Press

JULIAN ASSANGE appears in hologram form to discuss WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS

September 29, 2014

Earlier last week, winds off the Atlantic brought a rumour that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange might be appearing at the Nantucket Project this weekend. But how? Had he left his place of asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London? No, he will not be appearing in the flesh, but as the latest celebrity to follow the likes of Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur to be beamed by hologram.

The question of the day is a large one, about the fate of mankind. As the town square of yesterday (with its post office, bank, library and general store) is fast being displaced by its digital equivalent (email, online banking, Wikipedia and Ocado), what are the societal benefits and attendant costs? Finally, what measures does Assange see as necessary to ensure an optimal information future?

Read the full write-up of the event on The Guardian

WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS reviewed in The Irish Times

September 29, 2014

During the interview Assange outlines his philosophy and expands on what he calls “scientific journalism”. The press “has always been very bad. Fine journalists are an exception to the rule.” His idea of scientific journalism is that “things must be precisely cited, with the original source, and as much of the information as possible should be put in the public domain, so that people can look at it, just like in science, so that you can test to see whether the conclusion follows from the experimental data.” Otherwise, he says, “the journalists probably just made it up.”

Read the full interview on The Irish Times

WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS launch reviewed on Motherboard

September 26, 2014

“How many Google employees are at this party?”

The question hangs in the air at the Babycastles arcade in Manhattan, where Julian Assange's silver-haired visage is being projected onto the walls via video stream. Assange is taking questions about his new book, When Google Met Wikileaks, which rails against the company's ever-expanding ambitions, its ties to the surveillance state, and the increasingly intimate relationship between Silicon Valley and the US political machine in Washington.

Seeing no hands raised in the packed room, Assange offers an incentive: 20 percent off sticker price for Google employees. “And we’ll mail the book to you in a brown paper bag,” he adds with a grin, the audience's laughter echoing faintly through the stream's audio. And yes, you can buy it with bitcoins.

This is how you throw a book launch party when you're an international fugitive that's been holed up in an Ecuadorean embassy for the past two years.

Read the full write-up on Mother Board

Shelf-Awareness features photo of WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS launch

September 26, 2014

Image of the Day: Live from the Ecuadoran Embassy

On Wednesday night, OR Books had a book launch party at Babycastles in New York City for When Google Met Wikileaks, featuring a videolink appearance by author Julian Assange, who remains in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. Photo: OR Books/Courtney Dudley

See the full newsletter on Shelf-Awareness

WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS launch covered in The Guardian

September 26, 2014

How does a wanted man have a book party? On Wednesday night at Babycastles, a Manhattan videogame-art collective, Julian Assange celebrated the publication of his new book, When Google Met WikiLeaks. He was present via videochat. The collectivists projected him on their walls. A crowd had formed to see the shining-haired hacker king – youngish New Yorkers, mostly. They stood or sat and drank beers as Assange talked about the internet.

Assange said: “Compare the mission statements of Google and the NSA – the NSA, who literally say, ‘We want to collect all private information, pool it, store it, sort it, index it, and exploit it.’ Whereas Google says, ‘We want to collect all private information, pool it, store it, sort it, and sell those profiles to advertisers.’ Really, they’re almost identical.”

He said, “Every time you go to a party and take a picture and post that picture to Facebook, you’re being a rat. You’re being a narc.”

Read the full story on The Guardian

THE JIHADIS RETURN covered in review 31

September 26, 2014

‘The deteriorating situation in Iraq and Syria may now have gone too far to re-create genuinely unitary states.’ So writes Patrick Cockburn towards the end of The Jihadis Return, a remarkably timely intervention that explores the recent history and present dynamics of what Cockburn terms ‘al’Qa’ida type movements’, foremost amongst which is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). It is a gloomy prognosis, one which represents the final nail in the already-rotten coffin of the American-led invasion of Iraq and its efforts to bring ‘democracy’ to that country. However, as Cockburn shows, the rise of ISIS has implications not only for the legacy of Western military interventionism in the region, but also for the way in which the Arab Spring may come to be viewed historically.

Read the full review on review 31

THE JIHADIS RETURN reviewed in The Telegraph

September 25, 2014

This short book does not suggest any solutions. Perhaps there aren’t any. Western interventions in the past few years – such as Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2010 – have been disastrous.

But it is indispensable for anybody wishing to understand a terrifying new phenomenon which is already showing signs of inspiring emulators from North Africa to Pakistan.

Read the full review on The Telegraph


September 25, 2014

Schmidt's job, he said is "difficult" because he has to be "secretary of state" for Google. Assange said it was "sad" that Schmidt had to resort to insults in his interview with ABC News yesterday.

Aware of the arrival of Assange's book, Schmidt adamantly denied his allegations in that interview.

"Julian is very paranoid about things. Google never collaborated with the NSA and in fact, we've fought very hard against what they did," Schmidt said. "We have taken all of our data, all of our exchanges, and we fully encrypted them so no one can get them, especially the government."

Assange said the clash of ideologies was "not a matter of personalities. At least, not until last night."

Read full coverage on CNET


September 25, 2014

AMY GOODMAN: We go now to London, where we’re joined by Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent. His new book is called The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.

Patrick, welcome back to Democracy Now! So, President Obama says we must degrade and destroy the Islamic State. Is this the new line in the sand? Do you see echoes of 2003? Is this going to deal with this violence in the Middle East with this group and the related group, Khorasan?

PATRICK COCKBURN: No, it’s not. I mean, it’s—as he said himself, it’s going to take years. But I don’t think it’s going to work. You know, the first day of bombings like this, or bombardments, are usually the best, and there are pictures on television of large buildings being blown up, and it all looks very effective, but usually the buildings have nobody in them. Remember that this didn’t work when the U.S. had 150,000 soldiers in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, so I doubt if it’s going to work now. It’s going to make it more difficult for the Islamic State to put its gunmen into convoys and launch blitzkrieg attacks on bases and on towns, but otherwise it’s not going to have a decisive effect. And you can see that in Iraq, where they’ve been bombing since the beginning of August, and ISIS, the Islamic State, is still on the offensive.

AMY GOODMAN: Will it have a recruiting effect?

PATRICK COCKBURN: Yes. I think they’re probably not short of recruits anyway. You know, in Iraq and Syria, you have a vast body of unemployed, bitter young men who will look to the Islamic State as somebody who will employ them, somebody who has—shows religious leadership. So, I don’t think that they’ll have any problem with recruitment.

Watch the full interview on Democracy Now!

BOWIE reviewed by In These Times

September 25, 2014

Embracing that “reality of illusion” allows us to find freedom and pleasure in trying on different identities and casting them off when they no longer fit. “Just as Bowie seemingly reinvented himself without limits,” Critchley writes, “he allowed us to believe that our own capacity for changes was limitless.”

Arguably, this capacity for change goes beyond just the individual, though reading Bowie’s lyrics for an explicit political message is likely to frustrate the literal-minded leftist. The artist has long favored the poetic over the polemic, and Critchley is right in observing that Bowie’s lyrics are “at their strongest when they are most oblique.” In “Life on Mars?”, a haunting track from the 1971 record Hunky Dory, Bowie sings, “It’s on America’s tortured brow/That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow/Now the workers have struck for fame/’Cause Lennon’s on sale again.” We might read this as a commentary on fame or a critique of American consumerism or, if so inclined, evidence of Bowie’s hidden labor politics. What we can’t do is say for sure what it means, yet its collection of arresting imagery hints at something big beneath the surface.

In Bowie, Critchley, similarly, is less interested in making an explicit argument than in writing something beautiful. And yet Critchley’s reading of Bowie's work does argue for finding radicalism there. “Just for an instant, for the duration of a song, a seemingly silly, simple, puerile pop song, we can decreate all that is creaturely (or Critchley) about us,” Critchley writes, “and imagine some other way of existing, something utopian.”

Read the full review on In These Times

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Interview

September 25, 2014

DIERBECK: The book talks about narrative unity. Can you explain?

CRITCHLEY: There's this view that the unity of your life is the unity of the story you tell about your life. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, is the narrative arc he constructed in his book. And I think that's bullshit. There are no narrative arcs. Human beings can tell those stories, but they're not true. Identity is more of a series of blips. Bowie's songwriting technique was like those episodic blips. A big axe grinding in the book is against the idea of narrative unity, and against the idea of authenticity. We had an idea of music, particularly in the U.S., as having an authentic quality—coming out of an experience of struggle or suffering, of historical oppression, or of musical ability. You get a cabin, you go live for four years in upstate Wisconsin, and come back with a 40-minute album. And everyone goes, "Wow, it feels really real." Again, that's all a horrendous lie. It's not that some music is inauthentic. It's the Warholian aesthetic: "Andy Warhol, silver screen. Can't tell them apart at all." Warhol said: "Before I was shot, I suspected life was like television. After I was shot, I was certain." We're living in illusions. Images. Ever inauthentic circles. That's where culture happens. It doesn't mean it's not true, or that it's irrelevant. On the contrary. To try to cut the cord between inauthenticity and truth is impossible. Bowie is the pop star who mobilizes illusions. It's all he's ever done. I suppose it becomes the model for all pop culture.

Read the full conversation on Interview

BOWIE excerpted in Vice

September 24, 2014

The episodes that give my life some structure are surprisingly often provided by David Bowie’s words and music. He ties my life together like no one else I know. Sure, there are other memories and other stories that one might tell, and in my case this is complicated by the amnesia that followed a serious industrial accident when I was 18 years old. I forgot a lot after my hand got stuck in a machine. But Bowie has been my sound track. My constant, clandestine companion. In good times and bad. Mine and his.

What’s striking is that I don’t think I am alone in this view. There is a world of people for whom Bowie was the being who permitted a powerful emotional connection and freed them to become some other kind of self, something freer, more queer, more honest, more open and more exciting. Looking back, Bowie has become a kind of touchstone for that past, its glories and its glorious failures, but also for some kind of constancy in the present and for the possibility of a future, even the demand for a better future.

I don’t mean this to sound hubristic. Look, I’ve never met the guy – Bowie, I mean – and I doubt I ever will (and, to be honest, I don’t really want to. I’d be terrified. What would I say? Thank you for the music? That’s so ABBA). But I feel an extraordinary intimacy with Bowie, although I know this is a total fantasy. I also know that this is a shared fantasy, common to huge numbers of loyal fans for whom Bowie is not some rock star or a series of flat media clichés about bisexuality and bars in Berlin. He is someone who has made life a little less ordinary for an awfully long time.

Read the full excerpt on Vice


September 23, 2014

"There now six million people in the United States with security clearances. That is more than the population of Norway, New Zealand, or Scotland. That is in effect a state within a state. Why is it a state within a state? Because people that have security clearances have extra laws that they are meant to obey. That is extremely alarming [at the] moment, if we go back to 2010, just back to when it was 2.5 million. So there has been more than a doubling in the size of the National Security State within the US in just 4-5 years.”

Watch the full interview on RT

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Soundcheck

September 23, 2014
Visit WNYC for the full program.

SIMON CRITCHLEY interviewed by Rick Moody in Salon

September 22, 2014

In our ends are our beginnings. Or vice versa. Or both at once. Begending. But I think of you in your story of the London fog in 1979, traveling on the underground and seeing those twisted accident pictures from the cover of Bowie’s album. And I think of myself back then, aged 19, covered with acne, trying to find something from “Lodger” that it just wouldn’t give me at the time. Funny, it took 35 years to speak to me finally, like a radio ghost from the past demanding a blood sacrifice. But it was worth the wait.

Read the full interview on Salon

JULIAN ASSANGE interviewed by the BBC

September 22, 2014

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has spoken out about his continued self-imprisonment at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Mr Assange sought refuge at the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual offences.

He said it was a "difficult situation for a national security reporter" but "in some ways there are benefits".

The BBC's John Simpson talked to Mr Assange about his new book on Google, which he claims working alongside the US government.

Watch the interview on BBC