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"If you are a terrorist, my God, what are they?" Report on the Assange-Žižek event including Amy Goodman's account

Tamar Shlaim 6 July 2011

If you missed the livestream of the conversation between Slavoj Žižek, Amy Goodman and Julian Assange on Saturday 2nd July, you can watch the video here

Thousands of people watched it live around the world. The hashtags #fcwiki and #zizek were both trending on twitter (Žižek was trending above Hannah Montana at one stage!). The event was filmed and streamed by Democracy Now!, and on various other sites including The Nation and 

Assange was interesting on the relationship between the liberal and right-wing media, and the potential for harnessing the more negative elements of the media to get information into the public domain. He noted that Fox News had showed far more than CNN of the notorious footage of a US helicopter attacking Iraqi civilians in 2007. 

Assange also spoke candidly about Bradley Manning and his own extradition hearing. Startlingly, he also revealed that Daniel Ellsberg had told him that the New York Times had had many of the Pentagon Papers  a month before he leaked them. 

On the charges of terrorism against Assange, Žižek said that Assange was "a terrorist" in the same way that Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi was.

"As he tried to subvert the British colonial system, Assange is trying to interrupt the normal flow of information. This is a real revolution." 

Žižek went on to say that, while discussion of terrorism always focuses on its disruption of the status quo, we should pay attention to the greater instances of terrorism aimed at keeping things the way they are, and finished by saying to Assange "if you are a terrorist, my god, what are they who say you are?" 

Visit the Frontline Club blog for full reports of the event, plus live blog and photos from the day. 

Amy Goodman has written an article giving her take on the day's events:

Frontline Club co-founder Vaughan Smith looked at the rare sunny sky fretfully, saying, "Londoners never come out to an indoor event on a day like this." Despite years of accurate reporting from Afghanistan to Kosovo, Smith was, in this case, completely wrong.

Close to 1,800 people showed up, evidence of the profound impact WikiLeaks has had, from exposing torture and corruption to toppling governments ...

At the London event, support for WikiLeaks ran high. Afterward, Julian Assange couldn't linger to talk. He had just enough time to get back to Norfolk to continue his house arrest. No matter what happens to Assange, WikiLeaks has changed the world forever.

Visit Truthdig to read the full article. 

And, finally, there's a nice archive of tweets from the event  here

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