Julian Assange gives life advice on Reddit: How not to ‘feel helpless, overwhelmed and small’

The Wikileaks founder led a live question and answer session on the social media site

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The Independent Online

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has held a live question and answer session on Reddit, inviting users to “ask me anything” – and delivered a few pearls of wisdom in the proceeds.

The whistleblower, who has lived in Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, logged on to the social media site on Thursday afternoon and said: “I am Julian Assange publisher of Wikileaks. Ask me anything.”

And Assange found himself probed on everything from the World Cup to changing the world.

User madazzahatter asked: "What advice would you give to ordinary citizens in regards to how they can have an impact? Many of us feel helpless, overwhelmed and small. We are screaming for change, but what steps can we take?”

To which Assange replied: “When we are aware of the world and the scale of its inhumanity and stupidity we feel small. It very hard to ‘think globally’ and ‘act locally’, because by thinking globally we become overwhelmed with the scale of the problems to be solved.

“However the internet permits many people to act globally in a way they couldn't before. WikiLeaks is a realisation of this tension. By releasing materials on many parts of the world, we empower others to think and act.

“What can ordinary people do? Support and promote projects that are acting at scale. WikiLeaks is my realisation of this tension, but there are a flood of others starting. The clash between diversity and global uniformity which has been created by wiring the world to itself is now in play. You are the troops.”

Asked about fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former US NSA contractor who disclosed thousands of classified documents, Assange said he had carried out an “intelligent and heroic act”.

And he spoke about his newly launched Courage Foundation, which aims to raise legal aid for the likes of Snowden and himself.

Despite being holed up in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, Assange said that being at the “centre of a pitched, prolonged diplomatic standoff” meant he is never bored; and he receives visitors almost every day, while maintaining the Wikileaks organisation.

And Assange reiterated his defence for founding Wikileaks: “Secrecy is, yes, sometimes necessary, but healthy democracies understand that secrecy is the exception, not the rule,” he said.

“Our publications have never jeopardized the “national security” of any nation. When secrecy is a cover-all for endemic official criminality, I suggest to you, it bespeaks a strange set of priorities to ask journalists to justify their own existence.”