Only two other people took part in our meeting; one was our initial contact at WikiLeaks, she who had set up the meeting, and who sat through it with a computer on her knees. The other was an Australian academic, a specialist in strategic issues, knowledgeable on anti-globalisation, quoting freely from the linguist Noam Chomsky or historian Eric Hobsbawm and, even more unusually, the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm. We enjoyed an exchange of ideas and analyses amid the atmosphere of a peaceful but cold country evening.
The conversation was held in the sitting room, while our hosts attempted to light a fire rendered difficult by damp logs. The glossy magazine pages ripped up by Assange as fire-lighters weren't ideal for the task.
Surrounded, contested, isolated and all the while universally recognised and feared, Assange and his friends are now organising the second phase of their combat. It is one on behalf of information, that liberates by unmasking, and which is led against power that secretly oppresses. Their strategy is that of the weak against the strong; a small group of activists against an immense state machine.
Listening to Assange, one understands just how the effect of the WikiLeaks' downsizing agreement with five traditional, established international press titles - Guardian, New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais - put the papers under pressure and led to misunderstandings.
Assange chose the papers with a strategy that he intended maintaining control of, while they intended controlling the process of the revelations. But the immense volume of the documents - more than 250,000 diplomatic cables - got the better of them. The revelations themselves, their precise contents and their political consequences became as if diluted amid a media soap opera in which the heroes were WikiLeaks and, above all, the personality of Assange. The information the cables contained became almost part of the background.