Feeds

Julian Assange: Google's just an arm of US government

Pale, embassy-dwelling blond claims conspiracy betweeen ad giant, politicians

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed that Google is tied up in a conspiracy stretching up to the very highest levels of American government.

Addressing the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art via live video link on Thursday, the pale blond hacker claimed that Google was a US government "echo".

For the first time, he described interactions with both Google and the State Department which he claimed was "evidence" of intimate relations between the organisations.

Assange famously met up with Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, the young hotshot who is head of Google Ideas and a former high-ranking State Department apparatchik, along with Lisa Shields, a vice president at the Council on Foreign Relations, while under house arrest in the UK during 2011.

The group told Assange they wanted to interview him for Schmidt and Cohen's book (published this year), The New Digital Age: Re-shaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, but the WikiLeaks founder claimed they had a different motivation for their visit.

Assange said: "Google wants to ingratiate itself in the national security complex of the US and [establish] itself as a new geopolitical visionary. You might think this meeting is evidence that the big boys at Google are secretly on the side of WikiLeaks. That's not true; they have a much more complex agenda."

WikiLeaks published the transcript of their lengthy conversation earlier this year, but Assange has now described further interactions with the State Department for the first time.

Assange claimed that after the meeting, his team tried to contact Hilary Clinton. He said they managed to get through to her senior legal advisor. In a bid to confirm that the WikiLeaks caller was actually on Assange's staff, the State Department allegedly asked Shields to call them back and act as a "secret backchannel".

Assange, who referred to himself in the third person throughout the keynote, said: "What had happened was that the Google guys - who are really kind of State Department guys - came and paid an unofficial State Department visit to Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks crew, while I was under house arrest, then went back and reported that information at the highest level."

The blond hacker claimed that Google and the State Department work closely together, with the ad giant "doing stuff the government and CIA can't do".

"At this level of American society, it's all musical chairs," he added.

As evidence for this, the pale one pointed to WikiLeaks cables which appear to show intelligence agents were concerned that Google staff were running secret missions around the world, possibly at the behest of the US government.

Although this cannot be confirmed, recent stories do show that Google is keen to win favour with senators and other power brokers, though presumably in this economy, most governments prefer cold hard cash to favours. The Chocolate Factory spent $18.2m on Washington lobbyists last year, more than any other tech firm. Of course, that's not evidence of any wrongdoing.

Assange went on to claim that although Google started out imbued with good, er, "Californian" vibes, it has been corrupted by power. He added: "Google started out as part of Californian graduate school culture, which is a very nice, gentle, humane, somewhat naive and privileged culture around Berkeley in the Bay Area, which is pretty decent. Californians at that level are much like Australians, it's a pretty flat society.

"But as Google dealt with the big bad world, it leaned very heavily on the State Department and entered into its systems, so that there are very close interconnects, where you have a former advisor to Hilary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice [Jared Cohen] working as head of Google Ideas."

The Register has contacted both Google and Lisa Shields for comment, but they have not yet responded. ®

* Other gems from the keynote included:

If we go back to 2010 when I was in prison, and in solitary confinement. Who won the person of the year? I did. With 20 times the vote of Mark Zuckerberg, who Time Magazine decided to give the award to. Really democratic.

and

It’s not that Julian Assange is so cool. Or that Bradley Manning is so cool. It’s rather that our struggle represents this symbol that all of us hold.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.