Julian Assange, speaking with the BBC, says that the accusations of sexual misconduct made against him in Sweden are a smear campaign, that it’s working to tarnish his image, but that in the end the attention only makes Wikileaks stronger.
“Two days ago I did a search on Google for my name, some 40 million web pages have my name in it. Now, searching for my name and the word “rape,” there is some 30 mil web pages. So this has been a very successful smear.”
In keeping with his long time strategy of personifying and personalizing Wikileaks, an approach that has led to a falling out with many of his original partners, Assange believes the attention is good for the cause.
“I think it will focus an incredible attention on the details of this case and then when the details of this case come out and people look to see what the actions are compared to the reality of the facts, other than that, it will expose a tremendous abuse of power. And that will, in fact, be helpful to this organisation. And, in fact, the extra focus that has occurred over the last two weeks has been very helpful to this organisation.”
The interview is worth reading in its entirety, as Assange on numerous occasions makes the BBC interviewer look quite foolish and antagonistic, especially concerning the details of his court case and accusations of hacking. But Assange does little to dispell the perception of himself as an idealist tending towards megalomania.
Q: Just a final thought. Do you see yourself… as some sort of messianic figure?
JA: Everyone would like to be a messianic figure without dying. We are bringing some important change about what is perceived to be the rights of people who expose abuses by powerful corporations and then to resist censorship attacks after the event. We are also changing the perception of the west.
bpopper [at] observer.com | @benpopper