I?ve never been able to convince myself that Julian Assange is the hero that the left, then the right, and now the left again, have made him out to be. Aside from his palpable aura of reptilian creepiness, his reputation as some kind of fearless truth-teller holding the powerful to account has never, to my mind, squared with his actions.
Jack Marx, to my mind, pegged Assange all-too-well, when Wikileaks first began seizing headlines, when he wrote that their actions seemed more motivated by ?the thrill of a late-night smash-and-grab? and pimping his own fame than any high-minded commitment to principles. Quote:
This disregard for the innocent victims of his vanity is as indelible a mark on Assange?s career trajectory as a personal signature written in the blackest ink. End of quote.
It gets worse. Assange and Wikileaks not only engaged in exactly the kind of propaganda they decried, they lied and deceived. When Assange and Bradley Manning dumped a trove of classified files, they piously claimed that names had been redacted. But that was a lie. Anyone who bothered reading the files could see the names of innocent Afghans everywhere ? Afghans who suddenly had a target on their heads for often nothing more than working with NATO forces to rebuild their shattered country.
In their book on Wikileaks? history, David Leigh and Luke Harding described a reporter pleading with Assange at a fashionable London restaurant to redact from an Afghanistan war cables dump any names of Afghans who had cooperated with NATO forces. The point was to save cooperating Afghans from an assassination campaign the Taliban was running at the time. ?Well, they?re informants,? Assange is reported to have replied. ?So, if they get killed, they?ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.? End of quote.
Possibly Wikileaks? peak moment was the ?Collateral Murder? video. It was as crude a piece of propaganda as ever Joseph Goebbels could have managed. Quote:
At its outset, WikiLeaks insisted that it intended to serve as a wholly neutral organization, a digital refuge where principled whistleblowers could engage in truth-telling without fear of having their covers blown. It was supposed to be about employing advanced cryptography ?to protect human rights.? It was supposed to focus its exertions on police states, like Belarus, Zimbabwe, Russia and China. It never did.
?the ?Collateral Murder? video that put Wikileaks on the map back in 2007 was a distortion, fudged and edited in such a way as to depict an American Apache helicopter crew deliberately committing an unambiguous war crime in Baghdad, slaughtering at least a dozen civilians from the air. In fact, the complete video, and the evidence of the full military record of the event, provides a far more nuanced, complicated story of a bloody and horrible encounter with insurgents.
Wikileaks also told innumerable little lies, like the one about the U.S. ?friendly fire? deaths of four Canadian soldiers in Panjwai, in September 2006. No such event occurred. The soldiers were killed in an encounter with the Taliban. End of quote.
Assange?s commitment to ?truth? seems not only motivated by self-aggrandizement, but by his paymasters. At the same time that Russia was paying Assange to make propaganda for their RT network, Wikileaks were protecting the Putin regime. Quote:
Two years ago, Foreign Policy magazine discovered that WikiLeaks had in fact turned down a trove of Russian documents, at least 68 gigabytes? worth, from inside Russia?s Interior Ministry. Wikileaks? excuse was that the information had already been made public. That wasn?t true. In 2014, the BBC had gotten hold of about half the documents, which contained damning information about Moscow?s military and intelligence operations in Ukraine. The full trove became available only two years later. Assange turned it down. End of quote.
Assange and his fans are likewise lying about the reasons for his arrest. Quote:
?Assange is not facing charges that he exposed anything. His alleged offence is that in 2010 he actively colluded with the low-level U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning?in an effort to hack into a U.S government computer for the purpose of stealing classified data. Manning was later sentenced to serve 35 years in prison for stealing 750,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents?journalists?and Assange isn?t even a journalist?are permitted to participate in criminal activity or conspire to break the law. End of quote.
So, what does motivate Julian Assange? Quote:
?Cultural transgression.? That?s all Julian Assange genuinely cares about. It?s all he?s ever cared about. He is Alex Jones, but with better sources, better public relations, and a bigger ego. He is no friend to the truth. He is a true friend of tyrants and anti-semites, and an enemy of genuine whistleblowers, everywhere. End of quote.macleans