Julian Assange to host Wikileaks TV show on Kremlin-funded Russian cable network

Wikileaks announced this week that house-arrested frontman Julian Assange would host a new television interview series with "in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world." The theme, according to the announcement: "the world tomorrow."

Today, news that the network involved is none other than RT, the Russian cable television outlet founded by the Kremlin in 2005, which remains funded by and effectively under the editorial control of the Russian state. If you thought Assange's story already read like a pulp spy novel, none of this should be particularly shocking.

In a hyperbolic news release at RT.com, the network today revealed that the program will be filmed at the rural British manse where Assange has been residing under house arrest for more than a year while he fights extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. The first episode will be shot "just a week before Assange's Supreme Court hearing in the UK."

And at the end of that RT announcement: “Details of the episodes and the guests featured are secret for now.” Secret. LOL.

More: NYT Media Decoder blog, Moscow Times, LA Times.

(Original Images: REUTERS)


  1. Who would like to be the first to make a “In soviet russia…” joke? (Dusts off microphone and steps back)

      1. I heard that Putin found an ancient bust of Julian Assange’s head at the bottom of a lake while scuba diving.  Surely someone here has proof.

  2. So Mr. Government Openness and Transparency is getting in bed with a government that does little to investigate the murders of journalists, that rigs elections and suppresses coverage of the protests, and is hugely corrupt? If anyone needed proof that Assange’s schtick was more about his ego than his stated goals, this is it. 

      1. Does little to investigate the murders of journalists

        Yeah, but Putin actually strips to the waist and smothers the journalists with his own manly chest.

    1. @PapayaSF:disqus , saying that Assange is “getting in bed” with Putin’s government because he’s agreed to do a show on RT is just as ironically hyperbolic as Xeni’s obtuse image up there.

      Lot’s of ironic hyperbole going on around here, but then again… Xeni, already set the hyperbolic tone from the beginning, so no surprise there.

      1. You do know that RT is state-run, right? Do you expect Assange to reveal anything that might embarrass the government putting on his show? If he’s the independent truth-teller he’s supposed to be, he’s a hypocrite to hook up with a government that deserves to be one of his targets.

        1. You do know that RT is state-run, right?

          Right, like PBS.  Should Assange avoid FRONTLINE as well?

          And, how many episodes have you seen thus far? NONE? Exactly. How about you actually make an educated opinion on the actual news show after it airs? Or you can continue to spew ironic hyperbole, it’s up to you.

          1. PBS isn’t state-run.  It’s gotten some government money.  Just like the banks and the car companies and the farmers and…..pretty much every business.

          2. PBS isn’t state-run. It’s gotten some government money.

            Yeah, we don’t “run things” with money in the USA. I guess that would explain why the non-state-run organization “that’s gotten some government money” has run such unbiased coverage of Wikileaks thus far, huh?



            I guess we can just keep pointing our self-righteous fingers elsewhere, instead… whatever makes you feel better, I suppose.

          3. Yeah, we don’t “run things” with money in the USA. I guess that would explain why the non-state-run organization “that’s gotten some government money” has run such unbiased coverage of Wikileaks thus far, huh?

            Are you also arguing that all the major banks are state run?

          4. Congratulations. You’ve once again made the same comment six times in six minutes when the spam filter caught the first one. Enjoy your two weeks of every comment being yanked by the filter.

          5. This is getting his own TV series, not just showing up for an interview. If you can’t see the conflict of interest when a supposed transparency crusader gets a job from a government of the same secretive and abusive kind he claims to be against, I can’t help you.

          6. @PapayaSF:disqus

            If you can’t see the conflict of interest when a supposed transparency crusader gets a job from a government of the same secretive and abusive kind he claims to be against, I can’t help you.

            I dont see any evidence that Assange has taken a job from the Russian government. A Russian state run tv station is licensing a tv show he is making.

            He has also explicitly stated that he is still searching for other broadcasters.


            Those interested in licensing the Assange show for large audiences may email contact@quickrollproductions.com

          1. Sigh…  it’s interesting how you are trying to show how “free” our press is by using selective information. That irony doesn’t escape you, does it?

            PBS stations are commonly operated by state agencies, local government authorities (for example, municipal boards) and government funded universities.

            In some states, PBS stations throughout the entire state may be organized into a single regional “subnetwork” called a state network (for example, Colorado Public Television).

            Funding also comes from corporations (under the guise of “foundations”), federal grants and proxy funding through government funded universities.

            PBS, is indeed, at least partially state-run and state-operated media and funded by corporatists as well via proxy “foundations”.

            So when is this “unbiased” PBS organization going to offer Assange his own news show, I wonder?

          2. PBS is brought to you from the contributions of viewers like you.

            Specifically by viewers who will pay anything to end the Are You Being Served-athon.

  3. Wow, look at the amount of anti-russian paranoia in that post. Nice to see the cold war brainwashing is still holding up.

    FYI, RT fairly covered the anti-putin party protests after the recent election, reporting both the large size of them, the peaceful nature of the protests and not trying find the craziest 2 people to represent the entire makeup of the protesters.

    Did a hell of a lot better job than the ideal non-government funded free-market ‘go go capitalism’ networks of north america did to cover the OWS protests.

  4. The throw ‘ippon seoi nage’ that Mr. Putin is attempting, as seen in the authentic, unaltered photo at the top of this article, isn’t a good throw to use if you’re opponent is markedly shorter than you are.  

    From the photograph, it’s obvious that Mr. Putin is  quite a bit taller than the 6ft-tall Mr. Assange. 

    Mr. Putin would’ve been better off using ‘o soto gari’ or even ‘tomoe nage’ on Mr. Assange.  You can see a ‘tomoe nage’ demonstrated here:

        1. It squares with pictures of him next to other leaders (besides Sarkozy, Medvedev and Berlusconi, who are 5′-5″, 5′-2″ and 5′-5″.)

          1. Oy vey, now I have to ruin the joke, eh?

            Assange, at about six feet tall, is definitely taller than Putin.  It’s well known that Putin isn’t a tall man, rather he is of average height.

            In the photo at the top of this article, Putin is about four inches taller than the judoka in the blue gi.  

            Look at the size of the upper arm where Putin has grabbed the sleeve, compare the size of Putin’s hands with that of the judoka’s hand, and look at how thin the judoka’s waist is especially when you take into account the how loose the gi is at the waist.  Judokas tend to be stocky, and have very well-developed upper bodies, shoulders, arms, and very strong hands.  The arms on competetive judokas’ gis are usually just barely larger than their arms, so as to afford their competitor very little purchase.

            My guess is that the judoka in the photo is a early-teenager and a beginner judoka.

            The judoka, according to the obviously doctored photo, is Julian Assange. 

            So, rather than make the (previously jokingly rebuked by Xeni that is wasn’t ‘shopped’) observation that photo is doctored, I endeavored to draw the readers’ attention to the the fact that it’s just too obvious that it’s not Assange, because the judoka is shorter than Putin

            In case you missed it, Xeni’s ‘assertion’ of the photo athenticity is here:

            My too subtle-for-some attempt at humour was to criticize the particular throw that Putin was about to perform in order to point out how much shorter his opponent is.

    1. I’m sure if Julian persuades a young Private Bradley Manovich to download the contents of Russian diplomatic cables and publishes them on the web, we’ll see how much better the Russian system is for justice.  RT will provide the hard hitting journalism and shine their glowing light of Truth on the matter. 

      1. I would be curious to see any evidence you have that Assange persuaded Manning to download the cables.

          1. I didnt ask you a question, nevermind a yes or no one but I assume that by no you mean that you have no such evidence but will unashamedly repeat the propaganda anyway.

        1. I have no information that he did so.   I think if an identical situation to the events Bradley Manning was involved in happened in any country in the world,  Manning would find himself dead, tortured or disappeared into a similar looking cell.  Call me cynical.  Assange should have known this.  In that sense I think Assange bears some blame in what happened to Manning for his role in releasing all the documents that he did.  I think if you want to talk freedom of the press, using the Kremlin’s shill as your base of operations should raise eyebrows.

          1. I think if an identical situation to the events Bradley Manning was involved in happened in any country in the world,  Manning would find himself dead, tortured or disappeared into a similar looking cell.

            Any other country would kill (then torture?) and disappear a political prisoner?  Yet more hyperbole.  You just can’t help yourself…. can you, Snig?

            NEWSFLASH: Manning has already been tortured by the American government, by the way.


            You know, if you are to take the opinion of 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars or anything silly like that.

          2. Ummm. Yep.  A soldier dumps as many military and goverment secrets as he can get his hands on. Especially in time of war, even an unjust contrived war.  Yep.  Dead and/or disappeared.  Please tell me a modern nation who would do otherwise.   I’m not saying Manning hasn’t been tortured, I’m certainly not saying Manning’s treatment is a good thing. It’s what I would expect to happen though.

          3. Please tell me a modern nation who would do otherwise

            What? @boingboing-899f4f1e19b5e213352a0575df618d7c:disqus , seriously?

            This is an open letter to the United States from more than 50 European parliament members protesting our alleged torture, etc. of Manning:


            Your blind nationalism is clouding your vision, friend.  And, please don’t try to backpedal, move the goalposts… it doesn’t work on me.  I just hope you’ll be graceful and acknowledge you learned something today.

          4. Your blind nationalism is clouding your vision, friend.

            Your hero worship of Julian Assange is clouding yours. Also making you sound like a parrot.

          5. As far as I can tell, the only reason Manning was caught was because he was ratted out by Lamo. All leakers take a risk but I dont see any reason to believe that choosing to use Wikileaks as a tool to leak the cables endangered Manning in any way.

            This story has certainly been spun, and by more people than Xeni, to make it appear as if Assange has accepted a commission from RT. From what I can tell from the Wikileaks twitter stream though, the show will be independantly produced and will be available online but it is also available for licence to all tv stations with a large audience.

            The reason that US independent, non state run tv stations do not wish to broadcast it is probably the same reason that the independent non state run NY Times asked the White Houses permission before publishing any of the diplomatic cables.

  5. In a hyperbolic news release at RT.com

    Uncomfortable facts does not equal hyperbole, does it?

    • Is he cyberspaces’s most famous activist?

    Yes, provably so.  Please name of any other hacktivist who trends higher?

    • Is it arguably the most anticipated news series of 2012?


    • Is he a pioneer of a more just world and a victim of political repression?

    Yes.  U.S. cables released by WikiLeaks exposed the corruption of Tunisia’s President’s family and that partially contributed to the collapse of its unjust government.  Combined with Tunisians facing food inflation, unemployment, etc. – it was one of the straws that broke the camel’s back.

    Assange may have not immolated himself, but I think giving many corrupt, idiot leaders within the United States the desire to kill you is fairly brave and certainly is a form of political repression, no?

    Meet the people who want Julian Assange “whacked”

    How repressed should one feel when political leaders say they want to kill you?  Probably a little bit repressed, I guess.  [cow rolls eyes]

    • Are many already wondering whether it will be as explosive as the biggest mass disclosure of secret documents in US history?

    This is probably hyperbolic, I’ll give you that one as far as the first half of that sentence goes.  Yay… [cow rolls eyes]

    • Has he been on conditional bail for 414 days, with no charges officially filed, as he fights extradition to Sweden?

    Yes.  The Swedish authorities have issued a EAW for questioning and no charges have been officially filed against him.

    Actually, the most hyperbolic thing I’ve read is calling this news release hyperbolic.

    Secret. LOL.

    via:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/wikileaks/interviews/julian-assange.html

    FRONTLINE: Would you agree that if a government has a hostage rescue operation in the works that that deserves to be kept secret?

    ASSANGE: I would say that it is legitimate for those people involved in that, in the government, to take the necessary steps to keep that information secret. Now, that does not include deploying police to everyone else in the world to shut them up. Obviously, in some cases, we can say information, say about a hostage situation, would be better off kept secret. But we know what would be much worse off: if the state had the right to shut everyone up in the world at a point of a gun if those people were saying something that the state did not like.

    That is the situation that mirrors that in the Soviet Union and instantly corrupts the state and the people, because in the end, it is only the people working with the press that holds powerful groups like the states to account. That system of scrutiny of the state is so sacrosanct in preventing democracy’s going astray that it must be kept open, and that people must be kept free to exchange knowledge with each other, and the press must not be censored.

    Now, that is a lesson that the founding fathers of the U.S. learned with regard to censorship that was applied to them by the British. That is a lesson that has been learned in a number of countries that have themselves gone through revolutions after periods of dictatorship or abuse.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    And here’s something to chew on before the next round of ironic hyperbole hits this thread:

    Wikileaks: Russia branded ‘mafia state’ in cables

  6. Still waiting for ‘The Noam Chomsky Hour’ to be shown every night at 6 PM on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and PBS in an alternate universe where human beings give a shit about truth.

        1. There’s a lot more trouble in Russia regarding censorship.

          Are you insinuating that all the journalists are victims of state-sponsored killings?  In other words, do you blame the Russian government on the killings? By the way, that wikipedia entry needs to be cleaned up. The references lead to dead links.

          Speaking of killing journalists…

          Iraq: Wikileaks video of US military killing journalists

          Look, no one here is saying Russia is great, and certainly not Putin.  But, this American self-righteous bullshit is tiring and stupid.  If we aren’t self-critical, then we are on the race to the bottom.  Do I trust Russian Times news?  No.  Am I going to judge Assange’s show without it ever having first aired?  NOPE. That’s the very definition of making an uninformed opinion.

          I find it’s easier to maintain critical thinking skills if I don’t let nationalistic dogma cloud my view.  Wipe your eyes.

          1. Most likely several dozen to 200 unrelated crimes of passion.

            I do not endorse many things the US does, including the entire handling of the Iraq war.  I would have liked Bush and Cheney to have been prosecuted for war crimes.  I do think the US does most things related to civil liberties and democracy better than Russia. There I go, letting my jingoism blind me again.  I would like both nations to get better at both.  I’m sure RT and their Kremlin sponsors are only doing this to further their love of truth and journalism and not at all because it might embarrass any people they don’t like.  I hope you enjoy the show. 

  7. I followed RT on twitter a while back because it offered contrast to the regurgitated western media stories. Didn’t know it was Putins tv station lol.

  8. Analogy time.  If an animal rights activist accepts funding from Burger King to attack McDonald’s, is that activist actually improving quality of life for animals?  Or is the activist simply working to shift market share?

  9. I do not understand the antipathy directed towards Assange. I’m sure it makes sense to those in the US media bubble that this man is an enemy of freedom or something but to an outside observer the apparent need for the US power structure to squish this one individual is a bit unseemly.

    Assange is really not that important. The diplomatic cables that were released were diplomatically embarrassing but hardly on the level of state secrets because they were about things everyone already knew. If everyone already knows something, how can it be a secret. Nonetheless it is obvious now that pissing of a few Washington control freaks gets a squadron of state department diplomatic drones unleashed on your ass. 

    So Assange is losing a very long and costly legal game for his freedom against the full force of the US state department.  To pay the bills Assange needs work but it finding work that pays the bills and suits his situation isn’t easy. Being in home detention is tricky but the  more intractable problem is finding an employer that is willing to be automatically added to the US State department shitlist. 

    And so we come to RT who are probably already on the State department shitlist, no doubt for pissing off the same Washington control freaks as Assange.

    Synergy! Maybe Pragmatism. 

  10. Julian Assange and Bradley Manning are heroes. They exposed an amazing amount of truth to the world that would never have been acknowledged otherwise, that would not have even been looked for otherwise.  They helped inspire the revolutions all across the world, from the Middle East to Anonymous to OWS. 

    Revelations from Wikileaks were also specifically listed by the Iraqi government as reasons for not extending the 2011 exit deadline for the US, meaning they played a major part in getting us out of that war.

    I am honestly shocked to see such hatred for Assange here at BoingBoing. Praise for Hitchens even though he’s a war-mongering racist, but Assange is a jerk because he’s allowing his independently produced show to be aired on a network you don’t like, even though it will also be online for free? 

    Go America Go!

      1. And funnily enough, when it comes to Assange (or J-Ass as you tend to refer to him), BoingBoing seems to really enjoy focussing on the bad qualities, as opposed to, say, the actual information that was revealed by the leaks. 

        The only reason Assange’s personality is even an issue is because the media wants to use it as a distraction from what was revealed in the leaks, information which far, far outweighs any personality quirks Assange may or may not have.

        1. Actually I should expand on this. . . Basically, I think the cult of personality is incredibly dangerous. We should judge political figures the same way we judge celebs or reality TV show stars. Now obviously BoingBoing isn’t some war hungry Fox News organization, but it still just hits me the wrong way when I see so much silly personality focus on such a grave issue. Apologies if my comments are coming off jerky, lol, I think I just hold BoingBoing to a higher standard than news organizations/blogs that I know to be biased.

  11. I should also note that I basically love BoingBoing in all other regards, and Xeni, who’s article it is I’m complaining about (well the comments in the article anyways) is actually my favorite BoingBoinger, lol.

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