Julian Assange interviews Hassan Nasrallah on World Tomorrow
In one of the most anticipated news programs this year, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is once again making big waves. According to CNN, The World Tomorrow on RT has created a stir in global media circles, and that's no exaggeration. While under house arrest in Britain, Assange still has the kind of access others dream of: in episode one Assange interviews Hezbollah's Sayyid Nasrallah, speaking from a secret location in Lebanon, his first interview in over six years.
In anticipation Twitter hashtags #ExpectAssange and #TheWorldTomorrow trended globally on Tuesday and Assange’s crew blacked out show credits in a controversial protest to protect themselves from possible threats by security agencies due to legal repercussions.
“The US, Israel, Canada and The Netherlands deem Hezbollah a “terrorist group,” while the UK and Australia deem Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist group, and there may be laws against contact with this political party”, explained Lavelle.
“In a recent US Supreme Court decision (Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, June 21, 2010) the Court upheld material support provisions that prohibit otherwise protected free speech. The Court said that Congress could prohibit conflict resolution, humanitarian aid and other groups from providing training or expert advice to terrorist groups, even when that assistance is aimed at preventing violence.”
This is a fantastic interview. Regardless of one's opinion of Hezbollah or Nasrallah, it's a rare glimpse for western audiences, who are generally shut out from getting any views of the man or the organization that are not filtered by mainstream censors. His strong charismatic personality comes thru loud and clear, whether he is speaking of the Arab Spring, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, his childhood or human instinct. It's a must-watch interview with one of the most galvanizing leaders on the world stage.
Hezbollah urged the Syrian opposition to engage in dialogue with Assad's regime, but they refused.....
“This is the first time I say this – We contacted […] the opposition to encourage them and to facilitate the process of dialogue with the regime. But they rejected dialogue,” he revealed. “Right from the beginning we have had a regime that is willing to undergo reforms and prepared for dialogue. On the other side you have an opposition which is not prepared for dialogue and it is not prepared to accept reforms. All it wants is to bring down the regime. This is a problem.”...Stressing that Hezbollah supports dialogue, Nasrallah points out that without it, "civil war is the only alternative." In his words "this is exactly what America and Israel want… Arab states are ready for tens of years of dialogue with Israel but won't have two months to try a political solution in Syria."
"RT is rallying a global audience of open-minded people who question what they see in mainstream media and we are proud to premiere Julian Assange's new project," Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said in a statement on the television network's website.
"We provided Julian a platform to reach the world and gave him total editorial freedom. He is absolutely the right person to bring alternative opinions to our viewers around the globe."
"The World Tomorrow" will be broadcast [simultaneously] on three RT channels, in English, Arabic and Spanish.
"RT is the first broadcast licensee of the show, but has not been involved in the production process. All editorial decisions have been made by Julian Assange," the website said.
The New York Times sounds a tad miffed:
Mr. Assange, whose show is carried by RT, a Kremlin-backed news network and Web site, boasted that it was Mr. Nasrallah’s first interview in the West since 2006. And the two wanted men had a cozy chat, even though they weren’t on the same couch or even on the same continent.
Mr. Assange says the theme of his half-hour show on RT is “the world tomorrow.” But there is something almost atavistic about the outlet he chose. RT, first known as Russia Today, is an English-language news network created by the Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin in 2005 to promote the Kremlin line abroad... It’s like the Voice of America, only with more money and a zesty anti-American slant. A few correspondents can sound at times like Boris and Natasha of “Rocky & Bullwinkle” fame. Basically, it’s an improbable platform for a man who poses as a radical left-wing whistleblower and free-speech frondeur battling the superpowers that be.
His reputation has taken a deep plunge since he shook the world in 2010 by releasing, in cooperation with The New York Times and several other news organizations, masses of secret government documents, including battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most news organizations edited and redacted the papers to protect lives. Mr. Assange put everything on his Web site. To some he was a hero, to others a spy, but nowadays he is most often portrayed as a nut job.
In a preshow promotional interview with an RT reporter, Mr. Assange said he chose that network because it has greater penetration in the United States than Al Jazeera and because no other networks would have him. He isn’t looking forward to the reviews of his show. He predicted that The Times, among others, would dismiss him as “an enemy combatant and traitor getting into bed with the Kremlin.”
Of course, practically speaking, Mr. Assange is in bed with the Kremlin, but on Tuesday’s show he didn’t put out.
Moscow is at odds with Washington over Syria, and RT accordingly colors its reports from Damascus with sharp digs at the West and American support of opposition fighters that RT describes as “terrorists.”