I can applaud Assange for starting WikiLeaks, allowing whistle-blowers to safely publish documents of public interest that others would undoubtedly want covered up….and there’s plenty of evidence to support that. WikiLeaks tries to challenge those in power who abuse that power – a thankless task surely, but worthy nonetheless.
But there, it sort of ends….. I find myself struggling to find any more positives.
So, the other hand, I can despise this man for evading rape and assault charges in Sweden by hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London;
And, lest we forget, WikiLeaks itself has been either careless or deliberately irresponsible in leaking some information that endangers various individuals, and again there are several examples to prove just that.
I suppose it depends whether you think of him as a journalist and campaigner, or simply as a hacker, where he is wanted in the USA on such a charge. Actually, does it matter what you call him? I also firmly believe that the British public do not give a damn compared to the Yanks….time will tell.
The US government has charged him with allegations of conspiracy to break into a computer, relating to a massive leak of classified US government documents as part of WikiLeaks’ work.
Many think that, if successful, this would seriously affect journalists from simply doing their job i.e. undermining press freedom. This US indictment suggests that former US soldier Chelsea Manning was helped by Assange to make it more difficult for any investigation to find out the source of her disclosures. You may say that is normal journalistic behaviour. You know, don’t reveal your sources, ever.
But it doesn’t help me answer the question posed by the title of this blog.
Part of me admires him, part of me thinks he’s a big shit. Perhaps both are true…..
Be Careful What You Wish For…
Yes, Pelosi and Trump agree, Hell has frozen and the stars have gone out. Trump, of course, loved Julian Assange before he turned on him. Indeed, Trump made his love of WikiLeaks a part of his regular stump speech when he was running.
You will be hard pressed to find any regular American who doesn’t hate this guy. He hates us and we hate him back. He hates America so much he was perfectly happy working with the Russians if it would embarrass Americans.
Even the few Americans who will speak up for the man start by saying that what they personally think of him shouldn’t matter. OK, I must admit that is true.
Here’s an excerpt from the New Yorker: “Whether he knew it or not, Assange was a key participant in an outrageous Russian effort to sow division inside this country and help Donald Trump. It is understandable that the events of 2016 have heavily coloured perceptions of Assange’s arrest and possible extradition to the United States.”
When not spreading hate for America far and wide, Assange may have been raping women. I personally hope he goes to Sweden first. He needs to get that one first because he will only get five years here.
RT says “There are widespread fears that Assange will be extradited to the US and may face the death penalty.” This is not a mis-statement, it’s a lie; the difference being that RT knew it was untrue when the author wrote it (the article is unsigned).
The only bad part of all this is the implications for free speech that will not be lost on Putin’s Poodle. The Donald wants a way to muzzle the press and this moves him one step closer.
In one of the very few flashes of intelligence to come out of this Administration, Assange wasn’t charged with publishing secrets. He was charged with helping Chelsea Manning hack into a computer. That allowed people from across the Nation support something they otherwise would have never supported: silencing the Press. (If you consider WikiLeaks a part of the Press.)
In the hands of any other President from either party, press freedom would be a non-issue. But this Administration may well use this as the first step in a process that could possibly end with the loss of a free press.
Assange thought he would be the Australian Ambassador to the United States. He would be surrounded by guys in dark glasses and be at the heart of a large entourage. That last part may now come true. He will certainly be killed if he goes to prison without a serious security detail. Be careful what you wish for.
Julian Assange: it’s all about ego
Freedom of speech or treason?
To me, Assange downgraded himself from the first thing to second in some aspects of his activities.
In 2015 he said that WikiLeaks published ‘a giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents.’ It was a proud statement of a globe-trotter, a demiurge. Before he escaped to the Ecuadorian embassy, he become kind of a rock star and obviously enjoyed being somebody who can take on the world’s most powerful governments, with the U.S. government first in this row.
But they’re really top secrets, no matter what country we talk about. They’re things that should be hidden from public. I mean, keeping this stuff secret makes sense. The unauthorized release of classified information might harm real people, who risk their lives because of what they do. Some can even be killed.
Revealing secrets, I believe, has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s to do with irresponsibility.
I think it was exactly the case of Julian Assange. He played his role as a self-proclaimed ambassador of freedom of speech and made it too far. Yes, he unveiled lots of useful stuff for public to know, such as toxic dumping incident in Ivory Coast, etc.
But when WikiLeaks started releasing, for example, various U.S. military secret archives it was something different. Just take Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, for instance. It was funny because he (she) himself (herself) decided that certain files should become known to the public to prompt a wider debate about U.S. foreign policy. Then she (he) downloaded them from a secure computer network and ultimately uploaded them to WikiLeaks.
This is very funny: have your cup of tea or glass of wine and tell if it is really about freedom of speech or about treason?
Here’s Manning’s quotation: ‘Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.’ Besides, according to The Washington Post, she (he) also described the released cables as ‘explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective.’
It was OK for Assange to make it public.
There’s no justification for such kind of things. Assange didn’t care if somebody could be harmed by this or if someone’s life might be just taken away upon releasing some of this classified military or diplomatic archives. I believe he was made of out of his own ego, just to show to the world how mighty a person he was. Yep, there is some Big Brother ruling the world. Hiding the truth. Really? BS. Or, being polite, oversimplification of what is really going on in the world.
Julian Assange is no hero to me. He is a criminal pursuing his goals that are miles away from the noble stuff he claims he does. Soon we will see his ultimate fall from grace.