Pilger said the ‘extraordinary resilience’ of Julian Assange given his circumstances is ‘something to behold.’ His whole sense of ‘to hell with them’ and his own resolve to stand up to those who want to do a great injustice to him is ‘undiminished.’ His family and friends, however, are gathering around him this Christmas and New Year, to the extent that they can, because there is a feeling that perhaps an expulsion is coming. His health is currently stable although he ‘urgently needs’ a comprehensive diagnostic. About the the alleged Manafort-Assange meeting Pilger commented “I personally can confirm that did not happen. The way the internal security works in that embassy it was not possible.” The story was a ‘major fabrication’ by the Guardian, he said. ‘It cannot be called anything else.’ He went on the say it was an example of the ‘degradation’ of the media today. He said what Julian needs is ‘popular opposition.’ During the Cold War, he said, ‘there was popular opposition, there isn’t now.’ Julian himself is a ‘touchstone for opposition’ to so much of what is happening in our world. Pilger encouraged people to ‘to go into the street outside the embassy, to go into the street all over the world’ and protest. He concluded by saying ‘He needs that popular support, that support needs to come out now.’ This is a critical time.