Julian Assange Opens for MIA at Recent NYC Concert

Julian Assange made an appearance as the opening act for MIA at her New York City Terminal 5 show this past weekend.

Appearing via Skype and citing that he was there in support of “the most courageous woman working in western music,” Asange delivered a ten minute speech on topics ranging from privacy to freedom of the press, shouting out the reporters who were in exile as a result of their press coverage.

The audio to emerge from the event is a bit hard to hear but in it Asange regrets not being able to attend the event in person explaining that he’s been deterred “because your government sucks.”

Despite some chatter during his remarks– the crowd seemed attentive throughout, cheering him on as cameras and smart phones flashed throughout the arena from fans eager to broadcast his appearance through social media.

While MIA and Julian Assange may seem like a bit of an odd couple, the two have collaborated before, most notably with MIA writing original music for Assange’s political TV show The World Tomorrow. WikiLeaks has also previously tweeted that “MIA is the Julian Assange of pop music.”

The artist is certainly no stranger to taking on the man.  She’s currently being sued by the NFL for flipping the bird during her 2012 Super Bowl performance and this past August when her record label told her to “darken” up her album, warning that it was too positive- she took to Twitter and threatened to leak it saying;

“If interscope takes longer i can always leak this next week and make a new one by the time they are ready.”

That got their attention.

Her new album “Matangi” was released November 5th– click here to check it out.

The Fifth Estate and Mediastan

I paid for and sat through The Fifth Estate, me and nine other people at the ArcLight multiplex on Sunset Blvd, a 2:20pm show on the first day of release.  And my take away: Don’t use a pseudonym based on your family cat or get a giant WikiLeaks tattoo on your back, dumbass.  I also walked out thinking

Julian Assange, he’s a pretty cool guy and doesn’t afraid anything.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Assange as quirky and twitchy and uncomfortable in his own skin, a very different Assange than I’ve seen speaking before crowds, in interviews, in the Wikileaks-produced Mediastan (available free Saturday night, 7pm-6am Pacific  Eastern Time per wikileaks update,  for audiences in the US, Canada, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal and Estonia) where he has warmth, humor, and passion. Cumberbatch also doesn’t capture Assange’s hot geek sexiness, and I think somewhere along the way we’re supposed to see Assange as megalomaniacal, or at least as an ego-driven monster. Maybe I have dated too many real-life narcissists, megalomaniacs and ego-driven nutjobs to be affected by a cinematic version. I was on Assange’s side the whole time, even though he was pretty much a cipher. Daniel Berg was a wuss, and the relationship between the two isn’t that compelling (plus it is distorted by filmmakers for the narrative interest; Wikileaks has several pages of inaccuracies). Berg comes off as a short-sighted unlikable lick-spittle who sabotaged WikiLeaks for reasons that are posed as high-minded in The Fifth Estate, but were actually more self-serving in real life.

Props to the filmmakers for showing the Collateral Murder video and reminding people of that and of what Private Manning risked in order to release the video and subsequent documents. The film also lets the audience know of all WikiLeaks’ successes including publishing Scientology documents, information related to banking scandals, Kenya, Colombia, Gitmo, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, and much more, while shaking a finger about the the non-redaction of names (which was pretty much non-starter, since there has been no proof of blowback from the cables’ publication). Overall, The Fifth Estate is not a particularly great movie, there are some laughs and a little bit of tension and drama, but it drags in places, and is full of historical inaccuracies. And seriously, when the biggest revelation about a man whose organization changed not only the news media, but also the world, is that he dyes hair, that’s pretty tragic.

Meanwhile Assange co-produced Mediastan which presents an inside look of how WikiLeaks reporters, armed with their cache of  cables set off across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and into US-occupied Afghanistan in 2010 to give copies of related cables to news organizations in each country.  It’s great filmmaking, and reveals a great deal about power, media and the powerlessness of the media, both in regimes under dictatorships and in West.  In the ‘Stans, publishers and reporters fear retaliation, even if names are redacted, and those fears carry through to the Guardian, the Washington Post and the New York Times as editors tip their hands about power and access.  The US State Department funds some foreign media; other places it is controlled by the government–the irony of the name the newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan is painful–and no one really wants to risk their their access or their lives.

MEDIASTAN will be available free to watch online Saturday night, 7pm-6am Pacific   Eastern Time for audiences in the US, Canada, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal and Estonia. The film will also be available worldwide to buy or rent online at all other times. Watch it at http://wikileaks.org/Mediastan. I paid to rent it earlier this week and look forward to watching it again.

MEDIASTAN was directed by Johannes Wahlström and produced by Julian Assange with Rebecca O’Brien and Lauren Dark at Sixteen Films. It is being distributed by Journeyman Pictures.

Julian Assange Media Rollout in Anti-Promotion for “The Fifth Estate”

 

Julian Assange is stirring a bubbling cauldron of interest that could result in The Fifth Estate‘s coffers running over, with the fair-haired boy of cyberspece delivering the Midas touch for the box office gold.  WikiLeaks founder Assange has been giving interviews to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which will be publishing them this week, ahead of the film’s release, RT Spanish “Behind the News” host Eva Golinger, and weirdly, ABC’s “This Week.”

Why is it weird that Assange spoke to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Sunday morning news show? Because ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Disney’s Touchstone is distributing The Fifth Estate, produced by DreamsWorks, which has a television distribution deal with ABC/Disney. Talk about corporate synergy.

Stephanopoulos announcing that Assange would be

 live from his London hideout

was a tad melodramatic, because we all know where Assange has been since June, 2012–in the Ecuadorian Embassy, 3 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 0LS, United Kingdom, the building with all the nice policemen ringing it to prevent the easy-to-spot Assange from escaping and going…where, exactly?

Here are some highlights from Assange laying out his complaints about The Fifth Estate to ABC and RT. In both interviews, Assange discusses the government surveillance and the dangers to journalists who cover whistleblowing and report on leaks are facing. He also discusses his future, and in the RT interview, goes into detail about the asylum process, concepts of sovereignty and freedom, Google’s involvement with the State Department, the Obama’s administration’s exceptionally high record of prosecuting espionage cases, and that it is

a linguistic abuse to call speaking to the media espionage. Similarly it’s a linguistic abuse to say that WikiLeaks as a publisher, when it publishes, is conducting espionage.

Both interviews make for fascinating reading. In the interest of Fair Use, and because La Figa focuses on the intersection of politics, entertainment and pop culture, here’s what Assange had to say about The Fifth Estate in both interviews. There are links to the full inteviews, which I encourage you to read. First up, ABC’s “This Week,” from their transcripts:

There was no approach to us by DreamWorks, in any formal capacity whatsoever, other than an informal approach by Benedict Cumberbatch just days before shooting began.

This is a film that is based upon my life’s work, the work of my organization; we have people in extremely serious situations. [UK citizen] Sarah Harrison, who accompanied Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, now effectively in exile in Russia because of the terrorism investigation here.

We have (inaudible) an alleged media source, the 25 organizations including ours up for sentencing in under a month’s time, an ongoing grand jury investigation.

But what are the responsibilities for ethical filmmaking in that context? None of the suggested changes that we sent to participant media ended up even in the final text of the film. But there’s been a big cashing-in that has gone on….

This is a rich organization, DreamWorks. It’s making a lot of money and tries — is continuing to make a lot of money from this process. But none of — there’s no contribution to our defense fund, to the defense fund of our sources and so on.

Assange’s RT interview with Eva Golinger is a must-read. And yes, he is driving the conversation about the film, taking control of the PR. And insuring that once people have seen it–and they will, due in part of Assange’s PR blitz–they’ll be able to learn much more about WikiLeaks and its founder. Here’s what he had to say to RT about The Fifth Estate in response to Eva Golinger’s asking if the film is an attempt to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks:

I know the book that it was based on. The books were definitely an attempt to do precisely that. DreamWorks has picked the two most discredited libellous books out of dozens of books available for it to pick. But it’s coming out of a particular milieu about.. within Hollywood and that constraints, it seems, what scripts can be written and what things would get distribution. I don’t know if that was the intent of the filmmakers. It’s certainly the result, but it’s been doing quite poorly in the reviews.

I think the information we have published about it was pretty successful in knocking out any view that is inaccurate history. It’s interesting to see that in the America’s Disney, who’s responsible for the distribution there, has been putting up posters of me with the word ‘traitor’ emblazoned across my face*. You know, a laughable concept ‘cos because I’m an Australian, I couldn’t even be a traitor, in theory, to the United States. I mean it’s a type of libel.

I think ultimately people are starting to become immune to those sorts of attacks. There’s been so many as time is going by. And people who’ve been watching the WikiLeaks saga have seen many of these attacks, having seen that they’ve turned out not to be true. So I think our base is not going to be affected by the film.

More likely, WikiLeaks’ base will expand. Because as the film, which Assange so maligns, says:

If you want the truth, you should seek it out for yourself. That’s what they’re afraid of. You.

*A Google search shows there are several posters for The Fifth Estate. One shows Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange with the word “hero” across his face, another with the word “traitor.” The same is true for the face of Daniel Brühl who plays Daniel Berg, Assange’s  lieutenant who wrote the book on which The Fifth Estate is based.

Julian Assange’s Unhappy Letter to Benedict Cumberbatch

Intertubes pin-up boy Julian Assange is all sandy-pants about the upcoming film The Fifth Estate, and has been for sometime, judging from a letter dated  January 15, 2013 to Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Assange in the Disney/Dreamworks bioflick. The letter was posted on the Wikileaks site yesterday and reveals that  the actor had approached Assange asking for meeting before the film began production. Assange declined, stating that while he was fond of Cumberbatch’s past films and would enjoy meeting Cumberbatch, but:

I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film…I believe you are well-intentioned, but surely you can see why it is a bad idea for me to meet with you. By meeting with you, I would validate this wretched film, and endorse the talented, but debauched, performance that the script will force you to give.

Assange is basing his prescient review of The Fifth Estate on the source material, two books highly critical of  Wikileaks and its founder.  One of the authors, according to Assange, acted as consultant to the production. Assange points out there are far more truthful/favorable source materials available. Basically he calls Dreamworks part of the huge machine looking to break a cyber-butterfly on a wheel.  It’s all huge plot against him:

In other circumstances this vendetta [between Wikileaks/Assange and Assange's once-trusted lieutenant Daniel Domscheit-Berg, author of Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website] may have gone away, but our conflict with the United States government and the establishment press has created a patronage and commissioning market – powerful, if unpopular – for works and comments that are harmful to us.

[...]

The United States government has engaged almost every instrument of its justice and intelligence system to pursue—in its own words—a ‘whole of government’ investigation of ‘unprecedented scale and nature’ into WikiLeaks under draconian espionage laws. Our alleged sources are facing their entire lives in the US prison system. Two are already in it. Another one is detained in Sweden.

Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion. This film is going to bury good people doing good work, at exactly the time that the state is coming down on their heads. It is going to smother the truthful version of events, at a time when the truth is most in demand…

Your skills play into the hands of people who are out to remove me and WikiLeaks from the world.

Reuters reports that Cumberbatch plays Assange as

rude, awkward and unkempt in the film.

At the film’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last month, Cumberbatch told reporters that while Assange would probably not like how he is portrayed in the film, The Fifth Estate is celebration of the Assange’s acheivements. In a July 2013 interview with The Guardian, Cumberbatch says that he was initially concerned that the film cast Assange–currently living in the Ecuardorian embassy in London to avoid deportation to Sweden on charges of sexual assault–as

a cartoon baddie…I think I may get my head bitten off by Disney for saying so, but everyone agreed with that.

Cumberbatch spent a great deal of time researching Assange and delving into the activist’s background and childhood in order to give a nuanced performance:

To have been a child in a single-mother relationship, being pursued around the country by an abusive stepfather who was part of a cult – to be taken out of any context where he could discover who he was in relation to other people – well, to then become a teenage hacktivist, and evolve into a cyber-journalist, to me makes perfect sense. And he’s still a runaway today. I find that profoundly moving.

If you like spoilers, Wikileaks posted a copy of the film’s script on September 18, 2013.  The Fifth Estate opens October 18, and Asssange’s letter makes me want to see it now more than ever. I wonder if Dreamworks will send Assange a screener…

Wikileaks Leaks Fifth Estate Script, Internal Talking Points

Marketing for The Fifth Estate, a film about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has begun in earnest with ads recently released that depict Assange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, with the word “traitor” emblazoned over his face.

The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and with less than a month out to its wide release, Wikileaks has responded to the film’s marketing efforts by releasing the film’s script alongside an in-depth internal memo of their critiques.

From fact checking plot lines found in the script and the movie’s source material to correcting Director Bill Condon’s assertion that Assange’s opinions were based on an early draft of the script- in fact the script made available by Wikileaks was obtained in 2013- the memo covers quite a bit of ground.

In addition to pushback on the argument that Wikileaks has put lives in danger, quoting Defense Secretary Robert Gates to do so, the memo also tackles outright bizarre inaccuracies, excerpted below, that appear to have made it into the film;

  • Julian Assange was never in a cult, but THE FIFTH ESTATE claims that he was.
  • Julian Assange does not dye or bleach his hair white, as claimed in the film.
  • While these interpolations may serve to enhance the dramatic narrative of the film, or to build an enigmatic or interesting central character, they have the effect of further falsely mythologizing a living person as sinister and duplicitous.

Less their review leave any room for doubt – and acknowledging that they weren’t consulted on the making of the film – Wikileaks also tweeted a more concise review; in their words, “it’s bad”.

According to Entertainment Weekly Disney has yet to comment on this development.

For more insight into The Fifth Estate check out this post from Kevin Gosztola written earlier this year.

Big News: Coppers, Diplomatic Police, and Cabbies at Ecuadorian Embassy, All for Assange

 

 

Police surround the Ecuadorian embassy in London, preparing, or at least trying, to arrest Julian Assange on violation of his bail, as he has not checked in with the court in over a month. But of course if he left the embassy to check in, he’d be nabbed and extradited to Sweden to deal with accusations of rape, and possibly then extradited to the U.S. where he’d be up against far more serious charge–like life and death charges–of espionage over WikiLeaks.

Protestors and citizen journalists began reporting at around 11pm UK time, and several news feeds including OccupyNewsNetwork have been broadcasting live. There is police van parked in front of a side door. About a dozen police officers went into the building at 9:15am UK time. Earlier, men in suits who identified themselves as diplomatic police entered.

At few minutes earlier, around 9am UK time, some wags began calling taxis to the embassy using Assange’s name. The first driver was let in, and left disappointed. More cabs arrived, despite the livestream chatters explaining that the cabbies were part of the 99% and shouldn’t be pranked. Eventually a gray cab Mercedes pulled up with this sign in the window.

No one came out to take the ride to Heathrow.

What if Assange gained a bunch of weight, grew a beard and dyed it brown, and left on a fake passport during the Olympics!?

Tiki Oasis 12: Exotic Espionage Weekend Mirrors Current Events

 

Tiki Oasis 12, a four-day exploration of all things mid-Century and island-themed from art, cars, dance, fashion, movies, music and of course cocktails, arrives in San Diego August 16-19th with 3,000 unconventional conventioneers ready to hula and watusi between Tiki archaeology slide shows, cocktail symposiums, and art exhibitions at the still-fairly-Polynesian-themed Crowne-Plaza.

This year’s theme Exotic Espionage and Polynesian Pulp surfs the connection between Tiki culture (far away, sensual locales and cocktails) and spies, private eyes, and secret agents (namely far away, sensual locales and cocktails), whie celebrating the 50th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond.  The theme also dovetails nicely with Bradley Manning’s trial, real life international man of mystery Julian Assange’s bid for amnesty to avoid both a trial on alleged sex crimes in Sweden and extradition to the U.S. for Wikileaks’ related espionage, and a rise in both domestic and international spying. Was that intentional? Who knows, but lately Tiki Oasis has magically managed to reflect the current zeitgeist; last year’s theme, South of the Border, tied in nicely to immigration issues, and next year America’s hinterlands receives full focus with Hulabilly, Tiki at Its Doggone Best, a perfect compliment to the scrutiny the U.S. will receive no matter who wins the election.

 

 

I’m actually going this year, since I don’t want to miss Rob Zabrecky, the Magic Castle’s current Stage Magician of the Year who’s performing Sunday night (though Tiki Oasis  Friday, Saturday and all-weekend passes are sold out, there are tickets still available for Sunday which include Zabrecky’s performance, along with events,lecture and poolside activities). Plus I want to see Saturday’s one-day car show, which in true aloha spirit is free and open to the public, as the are indoor and outdoor Tiki Marketplaces, and the 3rd Annual Tiki Oasis Art Show highlighting the mysterious connection between Tiki and spies and featuring artists like Atomikitty, BigToe, Dawn Frasier, Doug Horne, Eric October, Maya Rogers, Ken Ruzic, and Tweelebop.

The car show has one car I really, really want to look at: the “Get Smart” Tiger Sunbeam. My late father loved “Get Smart;” we used to watch it together, and he did a great Don Adams’ impersonation. No wonder he was into Agent 86 and 99: He worked for almost a decade at Systems Development Corporation when it was a division of RAND, shifting over to NASA where he was a human factor specialist/test astronaut. Before working at SDC he was in the Air Force, stationed in Morocco during the Moroccan struggle for independence; he told me taught the locals how to recognize different airplanes and

trained pilots on how to survive if their planes crashed,

something he continued while in the Air Force Reserves through the early part of the 1960s. In the early 70s Dad worked for a strange little company called Seredipity in Santa Monica which, he explained to me at the time, made

hidden commercials that can go in films.

Uh, subliminals? Huh, what? Golly, Daddy, what actually did you do?

Anyway, Dad’s birthday was  August 14th, so attending a spy-themed weekend and seeing the “Get Smart” car is a good tribute to him. He died from lymphoma in 1995, which why I’m walking in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Light Up the Night Walk in October. My team is from the Center for Inquiry West, a bunch of atheists and skeptics, which would have pleased Dad immensely. Dad was a really loyal Democrat, he supported Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton, and he and my awesome stepmom worked hard in their little San Diego County burg to keep fundamentalists from overtaking the local schoolboard.

I’ll be reporting from Tiki Oasis this weekend, assisting the agents of A.L.O.H.A. in their mission to spread the Tiki message of hospitality and friendship.

Paintings used by permission of the artists.

Tiki Oasis poster, Derek Yaniger
Wendy Cevola
Eric October
Susannah Mosher, aka Atomickitty
Tweedlebop
Ken Ruzic

“Julian Assange, Superstar” aka “WikiLeaks, The Musical”

If Hollywood has its way and the check clears, Julian Assange, the international man of mystery currently enjoying Ecuadorian hospitality whilst planning his birthday party inside that country’s embassy, will be the subject of a biopic fraught with cyber espionage and condomless sex. According to the Wall Street Journal, HBO Films, DreamWorks Studios, Universal Pictures and Annapurna Pictures are all frothing and panting to bring Assange’s story to a megaplex or cable box near you.

There are a lot of loose ends though–not the least of which being who would play the pale and lanky leader of WikiLeaks; Tim Robbins, even though he’s a bit older than Assange, possesses plenty of boyish charm and height–dangling plots points like Bradley Manning who is in prison and on trial; what happens with the Syrians cables; Assange’s potential extradition to Sweden…

Here’s a solution: A musical! As Spiderman Turn Off the Dark proves, stage plays are constantly evolving. As the Assange/WikiLeaks story unfolds, the libretto could be adjusted; and it’s a sure Tony Award winner, and once things are resolved in real life, the film would be ready to go. Along with Assange’s all singing, all dancing  grandstanding and honeypot sampling, Bradley Manning’s character would be onstage throughout as the tragic counterpoint and moral compass, first at a computer screen, then behind bars, always present, a contrast to Assange’s hubris.

Plus there would have to be a Greek chorus of Anonymous in EFG masks performing catchy numbers like “Low Orbit Ion Cannon,”  and “DDoS Us All” while Loooong Cat and Nyan Cat dance. It’s all a hummable, teachable-moment multi-media extravaganza! And Neil Patrick Harris would be SUPER in the starring role! Or maybe Zac Efron. Think Clay Aiken for the touring company.

If any Broadway producers are interested, you know where to find me…

The EFG Greek/geek chorus can get serious at times, while Manning’s character is the musical’s moral compass.

Anonymous Hits Syrian Govt Site: “World Stands with You Against Brutal Regime”

Anonymous computer hacktivists  landed on the Syrian government’s website (Monday morning 8/8/11 in Syria) http://mod.gov.sy/ leaving their logo and a message to the Syrian people in English and Arabic:

To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side – tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime’s brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next.
To the Syrian military: You are responsible for protecting the Syrian people, and anyone who orders you to kill women, children, and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason. No outside enemy could do as much damage to Syria as Bashar Al-Assad has done. Defend your country – rise up against the regime! – Anonymous
The hack falls in the middle of Ramadan. It was up from at least 9:30 pm west coast time and is still up at press time. UPDATE: By 12:30 am west coast time, the Syrian government’s site was not responding, either because of high traffic or because the government had pulled it down.

The logo of a torso with a question mark instead of head explicates the idea that Anonymous is a headless (dis)organization; there is no leader, as well as reference the Sixties motto “Question Authority.” Anonymous came out of the 4Chan pages, a NSFW image sharing site, and began their activism staging global masked protests against  Scientology and that organization’s abuses of civil rights. Since the success of that campaign, the WhyWeProtest.net aspect of Anonymous has expanded to embrace the uprisings in Iran and fight against censorship and for free exchange of information. Many also take issue with what they see as oppressive copyright restrictions.

 

Anonymous hacks in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange included taking over the non-transactional pages of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal to protest the institutions’ refusal to process payments designated for Assange’s defense. The Swedish government website was defaced this year by Anonymous in support of Assange. Other government sites including those of Maylasia, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, and Egypt have also been attacked. And the Westboro Baptist Church was hacked.  Basically a bunch of people in an IRC chat room will discover they have an affinity on certain issues, recruit some other like-minded folks and go do something.  The internet–with the right tools–allows anyone to be anonymous/Anonymous.
Recently LulzSec/AntiSec, which emerged from Anonymous, have hacked into government and law enforcement websites, as well websites of security companies such as HB Gary, as well as Sony. A Portuguese man was arrested then released in the LulzSec investigation, while a member of the anti-Scientology branch of Anonymous in Sweden was mistakenly named by internet vigilantes as  Topiary, the alleged the head of LulzSec/AntiSec, after the arrest of a teenager in the Shetland Islands.  The English teen has been charged, resulting in a retaliatory hack of 70 law enforcement websites, compromising 10 gigabytes of information:

We are doing this in solidarity with Topiary and the Anonymous PayPal LOIC defendants as well as all other political prisoners who are facing the gun of the crooked court system.

The Syrian hack–which follows the hacks of other repressive states in the Middle East–is a major move for a  branch/few people/many (?) Anonymous, showing they mean srs bsns when it comes to freedom and democracy, and that for this bunch, their hacktivies are focused on more that just teh lulz. Other Anonymous activities include supporting the current large scale demonstrations in Israel and Chile, and  encouraging voting in Argentina’s elections last week.

(for a good, in depth look at Anonymous, check out this edition of The Stream from late June of this year. The Anonymous segment begins at 22:48 and includes a live interview with an Anon who explains the Anonymous philosophy and the hows and whys of Anonymous political involvement, as a well as discussion about new forms of democracy evolving out of social media and cyberspace.)

Eat His Words? Lunch with Julian Assange Up for Auction

 

The donate-and-have-a-chance-at-Bill Clinton fundraiser to pay off Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign debt has drawn to a close, winner to be announced eventually. Ah, but there’s another opportunity to spend time with a possibly far more dangerous man: Julian Assange.

Yes, a three hour lunch with cyber star Assange, plus renowned Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, and seven other high bidders is up on eBay. While the lunch at

one of London’s finest restaurants

and front row tickets to a talk by the two hosts, plus cab fare to the location later in the day is covered in the bid, you’re on your own for airfare to make it to the July 2nd nosh. Current bids for seats 6 and 7 are $3,031.97 and $1,753.62, respectively, with 100% of the proceeds going to WikiLeaks. The auction closes June 20th.

And acquaintance who knows Assange says

He’s really funny and cool when he isn’t wound up about all this stuff

so maybe prepare some non-WikiLeaks related talking points for witty repartee.

But I want to know what’s to stop some dastardly villain from bidding an outrageous amount and then offing everyone during the cheese course? I know, I read too many spy novels, but really, will simply providing ID upon winning the bid  be enough to protect Assange?

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