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Punishing the Past, Impeding the Future: the Arrest of Assange

I met Assange two years ago at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, and remembering what he had told me during our encounter I think one can understand why he was arrested today. Assange mentioned to me that he was investigating how Google was planning to make use of the immense quantity of information at its disposal. It had to do with, according to Assange, selling to insurance companies and secret services data about the interests, desires, consumption habits, state of health, reading practices…in a nutshell data about the life of millions of individuals in all its aspects.

According to Assange—and I believe we can share his view—this would mean an unprecedented increase in the possible ways of controlling human beings through the powers of the market and the police. What is at the core of Assange’s arrest is, therefore, not only the desire to punish past WikiLeaks investigations, but to impede investigations currently underway that evidently all those implicated seem to be threatened by. It is also for this reason that it is necessary to express unreserved solidarity with Assange.

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s statement on Julian Assange’s arrest, posted in his Una Voce column on publisher Quodlibet’s website.

Translated from the Italian by Masturah Alatas.

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