“The World Tomorrow” is a dynamic new television discussion series on Russia Today featuring Julian Assange as host.
It is a collection of interviews featuring an eclectic range of guests, who are stamping their mark on the future: politicians, revolutionaries, intellectuals, artists and visionaries.
Imran Khan[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an-AJIqN_r4[/youtube]
When former international cricket captain Imran Khan entered politics, neither he nor his party was taken seriously. Today however, he discusses his meteoric rise in Pakistani politics, and the issues driving it.
The blossoming of Khan’s political credibility began with his boycott of the 2008 elections, a decision taken because “they were being manipulated by the Bush administration” and warning that they would be “a disaster for the people of Pakistan”. Four years on and corruption scandals and the devastation of The War on Terror have given serious weight to Khan’s campaign. In this dramatic interview, he expands on the need for a fundamental change in what he calls Pakistan’s “client master” relationship with the US, a supposed ally that “did not trust us and actually came and killed someone on our own soil. Are we a friend, or an enemy?”
Cypherpunks[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRkDUmT_I_w[/youtube]
[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aitQ2XTaUVM[/youtube]
A terrifying war is being fought in the digital second world of modern life. Technology designed to soak up individuals’ private communications is in constant development. In the age of cyber surveillance where does the boundary between private and public fall — if it still exists at all?
In part 2 of the Cypherpunks interview, the problems of privacy and freedom in online communication are raked over by Julian Assange with his guests Andy Muller Maguhn, Jeremie Zimmerman and Jacob Appelbaum. They look for solutions to state and corporate lead invasions of privacy and restrictions on the free movement of information. The movement dedicated to freeing up individuals to use the internet anonymously, safely and freely, and that the way to solve problems created by the internet is not through greater control and policing. Applebaum sums their argument up, claiming “The answer is not to destroy a medium or to police that medium. It is when you find evidence to prosecute the crimes that the medium has documented. It is not to weaken that medium; it is not to cripple society as a whole over this thing.”
However, it’s Julian who defines their vision for the potential of the internet: “So when you look at the balance between powerful insiders knowing every credit card transaction in the world, shadow states of information that are starting to develop and swapping with each other and developing alliances and connections with each other, and into the private sectors and so on versus the increased size of the commons, then the Internet is a common tool for humanity to speak to itself, and to increase its power…”.
Occupy[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhHm8pJ10rk[/youtube]
The Occupy movement has united hundreds of thousands across the world in protest against economic and social injustice. In this episode, key Occupy activists talk global finance, politics, and direct action.
The former Deutsche Bank building in London plays host to this weeks discussion, which sees Julian discuss the origins, targets, and future of the Occupy movement with five high profile activists. The roots of the movement lie in the growing outrage many felt in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. However, according to Alexa O’Brien from Occupy New York and US Day of Rage, they are also responding to a “Global Political Crisis, because our institutions no longer function.”
Aaron Peters from Occupy London agrees that political failure is a “global phenomenon”, with power shifting to unaccountable non-democratic institutions. However, the last word goes to David Graeber from Occupy New York, who jokes “there’s nothing that terrifies the American government so much as the threat of democracy breaking out in America.”
President Rafael Correa
In this weeks episode, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador discusses with Julian whether it’s always the case of good media vs corrupt government, and examines his country’s relationship with the United States.
Discussion opens with the circumstances surrounding the attempted coup de tat in Ecuador in 2010, during which the president was taken hostage. From there this weeks interview moves on to the key relationships between media, money and the interests of the United states that are at play in Ecuador. Following the coup attempt, Correa embarked on a furious and controversial counter offensive on Ecuador’s media. He attributes the media’s influence over the events of 2010 to the vested interests of corporate power and its control of Ecuador’s media, now explosively claiming corporate owners of the media “disguised as journalists, are trying to do politics, to destabilise our governments so that no change takes place in our region, for fear of losing the power they have always flaunted”.
Surviving Guantanamo: Moazzam Begg and Asim Qureshi[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIzqsSr7ZMQ[/youtube] This episode takes us to the very heart of America’s War on Terror: Guantanamo Bay. Julian sits down with a former Gitmo prisoner and a rights campaigner, both fighting for those still trapped behind the wire.
Ten years ago the war on terror prompted the opening of the facility. Now, more than three years after President Obama ordered its closure, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp remains with us. Moazzam Begg is a former inmate.
During his imprisonment, he signed a forced confession, admitting he “was armed and prepared to fight alongside the Taliban and Al Qaeda against the US,”, but only after being hog-tied and beaten, as he listened “to the sound of a woman screaming next door I’m told or am led to believe is my wife”. Asim Qureshi operates a human rights organization with the sole aim of raising awareness of the plight of prisoners remaining in Guantanamo Bay.
Together, both men discuss the plight of Muslims in the post 9/11 world, the thin line between terror and self-defense, and Begg’s belief that Obama has ushered in an era where “extra-judicial killing” has replaced “extra-judicial detention.”
Alaa Abd El-Fattah & Nabeel Rajab[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdVoBlABSpc[/youtube]
Assange, the journalist, comes of age! Following his latest interview with Bahrain’s Nabeel Rajab, the activist was arrested. He and Egypt’s Alaa Abd El-Fattah spoke powerfully to Assange about the failings of the Arab Spring.
Both activists face reprisals for defying their regimes and speaking out. Rajab was arrested on May 5, just days after appearing for the recording of Assange’s show. El-Fattah is banned from traveling and is facing charges for allegedly damaging military property, stealing weapons and even murder.”Unfortunately we are in a region ruled by families, dictators, since the 10th century. But their strength comes from their wealth, from the Americans’ support, from the armies they have and not from the people”, Rajab says. Yet at the moment there is no clear vision emerging about what should replace the current regimes. “There is no articulation of what that dream is. It’s certainly not a boring Western representative democracy.”
The activists also speak about the “battle of narratives” in the world’s media coverage and how it differs from what they’ve seen on the ground. Rajab slams media outlets al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya for “boycotting” the Bahraini revolution, under Sunni influence. On a personal level, the activists give a powerful insight into life as family men and revolutionaries. “My daughter is nine years old. I was kidnapped and beaten in front of her. When you have repression the injustice is so random you cannot guarantee a good life for your child unless you guarantee it for every other child”.
President Moncef Marzouki[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-lxmmmwGf4[/youtube]
Over the last 18 months the middle east has been shaken by a series of revolutionary movements that began in Tunisia. This week Assange speaks to the man running the new Tunisia, President Moncef Marzouki.
The debate is wide ranging, including their shared personal experiences of prison, the human rights record of the US, democratic Islamism, torture and secret files. But, despite their obvious mutual respect, Assange is able to challenge Marzouki, both over the censorship of the internet in Tunisia and on his position over the revolutions in Bahrain and Syria. According to the President, “we have to forget about the positions of Nasrallah and people like him. There is no good dictatorship. Dictatorship is dictatorship: corrupted, brutal and against the people.”
Slavoj Zizek and David Horowitz[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM0I5k50XsY[/youtube]
In the second episode of his ground breaking new series, Julian Assange is joined in house arrest by intellectual superstar Slavoj Zizek, and via satellite by divisive right wing figurehead David Horowitz.
This episode pitches left against right, as self described communist Zizek and “fiery right wing zionist” David Horowitz go head to head. It’s a heated discussion, and at times Assange even has to physically restrain Zizek, despite Horowitz being on another continent. The conversation tears through a range of controversial subjects, hitting on Nazis and Palestinians, Black Panthers and Israelis, and Obama, Romney and Stalin. At the end of the debate Zizek is forced to conclude “This was madness”.
Hassan Nazrallah[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDLXPpooA18[/youtube]
A freedom fighter to some, a terrorist to others, it is his first interview in the West since 2006. From a secret location in Lebanon Hassan Nasrallah gives Assange a rare and frank insight into his vision for the future of the Middle East.
“This is exactly what America and Israel want for Syria”, Nasrallah insists. He also blames Al Qaeda for “trying to turn Syria into a battleground”. He’s certainly not holding back and with Assange throwing the questions the revelations keep on coming. He believes in Bashar al Assad: “I personally found that President Assad was very willing to carry out radical and important reforms. But the opposition needs to agree to dialogue.” But it’s not only Syria that’s on the agenda. He vehemently denies allegations of corruption pointed at Hezbollah. “This is part of the rumours that they wanted to use to discredit Hezbollah and distort its image. It’s part of the media war against us.” What about Hezbollah’s violent past? “Hezbollah resorted to bombing civilians only to prevent Israel from shelling our civilians” he says. So what is next for Hezbollah’s campaign against Israel? And what does Nasrallah really want for the future of the region?
Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dboKS5iBCw[/youtube]
Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali are two giants of the intellectual left. They join Julian to discuss protest movements, democracy, and how the West completely failed to anticipate the Arab Spring.
Chomsky identifies that the warning signs were there, with the roots of the protests in Tahrir square in labour movements and protests taking place in Egypt as early as June 2008. He admits “You asked if I predicted it, and no I didn’t. But it’s now happening worldwide.” As with most in the West, neither man saw it coming, but both agree on the causes of the global cycle of protest and revolution. “Democracy has become petrified”; the increasing ossification of social mobility, and the increasing inequities of wealth and power, are all the result of the failure of Western democracy. According to Ali, “we are witnessing that democracy is becoming more and more denuded of content. It’s like an empty shell. This is what is angering people. They feel ‘whatever we do, whatever we vote for, nothing changes’.”