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When Assange meets Nasrallah, you learn the most about Assange (+video)

Julian Assange, the embattled Wikileaks leader, started his new chat show with an interview of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

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No. The BBC, which has many flaws, has an independent board. The Voice of America, far more directly an arm of the US government than the BBC is for the UK, aint perfect, but has demonstrated far more faithfulness to basic facts over the years than RT. These things are simply not equivalent, nor is the Russian state analogous to the democracies of the UK and US, their warts aside.

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Staff writer

Dan Murphy is a staff writer for the Monitor's international desk, focused on the Middle East. Murphy, who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and more than a dozen other countries, writes and edits Backchannels. The focus? War and international relations, leaning toward things Middle East.

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Assange should know this. A US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks summarized the comments of Jose "Pepe" Grinda Gonzales, a Spanish prosecutor who concentrates on organized crime, this way: "Grinda stated that he considers Belarus, Chechnya and Russia to be virtual "mafia states" and said that Ukraine is going to be one. For each of those countries, he alleged, one cannot differentiate between the activities of the government and (organized crime) groups."

Assange, still under house arrest in England fighting extradition to Sweden where he's wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations, is clearly hoping his new show will be a hit. His organization is struggling for relevance after its dramatic score of a huge archive of US diplomatic cables. Wikileaks hasn't had a secure "drop box," the heart of its enterprise as initially conceived, since the middle of 2010.

Though its collaboration with Anonymous, an amorphous group of hackers, led to the theft and publishing of internal emails from the private intelligence and security company Stratfor earlier this year, that was a bit of dud from the relevance standpoint. Stratfor, though it likes to hype itself as a major player in international intelligence, mostly repackages open-source information for paying clients. Beyond embarrassment for them, there wasn't much there there.

Assange says he has an advantage over traditional interviewers. He told RT his interviews "revealed sides of very interesting and important people that are not normally revealed because they are not dealing with a standard interviewer, they are dealing with someone who is under house arrest, who has gone through political problems that they can sympathize with."

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