Monday, August 29, 2016 at 7:53 AM

Hey Media, Wikileaker Assange Is Still a Self-Promoting, Bail-Jumping Rape Suspect!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Julian Assange must feel like he’s in Heaven. Which, of course, is ironic considering he’s actually in the first circle of Hell (aka Dante’s Limbo).

Julian-Assange_2044349cYou’d never know it from his TV interviews, but he has been hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012. That’s when he fled there to avoid having to face justice on rape and sexual molestation charges.

(I wrote about what might have caused him to jump bail in “Arrest and Bail of Julian Assange,” December 20, 2010, and “Wikileaker Assange Fears Guantanamo … and Assassination,” January 13, 2011.)

No surprise then that he fell out of favor with many of the celebrity friends he coveted, especially those who forfeited their part of the nearly $350,000 collected to bail him out of jail. Here, for example, is how heiress, journalist, and human rights campaigner Jemima Khan expressed her disaffection in the New Statesman on February 6, 2013:

I have seen flashes of Assange’s charm, brilliance and insightfulness…

But I have also seen how instantaneous rock-star status has the power to make even the most clear-headed idealist feel that they are above the law and exempt from criticism.

In any event, the reason for his heavenly glow is that Russian hackers chose him to leak a treasure trove of purloined e-mails, which could make him as notorious a peddler of political gossip as he used to be of military secrets. Never mind that his record of leaking documents recklessly has so undermined his credibility, his only source these days are rogue, anti-Western hackers – who see him as nothing more than a useful idiot.

maxresdefault (6)But nothing gives Assange’s life meaning quite like playing his self-appointed role as the keeper and leaker of secrets – no matter the source, no matter how innocuous or grave. Only this explains his rapturous countenance during interviews on Fox News last week, during which he teased that forthcoming leaks will entertain his enabling voyeurs as much as derail the Clintons’ 2-for-1 presidential ambitions.

In reality, I suspect his leaks will reveal nothing more than what we already know about the Clintons’ shady dealings, and perhaps some titillating details about their transactional relationship with Barack Obama – the (Machiavellian) black prince who pulled off “the biggest fairy tale [they’ve] ever seen.”

Whatever the case, Assange is clearly milking the gravitas the media conferred upon him last month. That’s when his recent leak of private correspondence among members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) led to many of them, including chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, losing their jobs.

kpcuwyhbthmgfkku7qczIt hardly mattered that the leaked e-mails merely showed members rooting for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination. This, after all, was always as obvious as members of the RNC rooting for anyone but Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination.

Not to mention that leaking e-mails about granting favors, peddling influence, and shifting alliances in Washington, is rather like leaking e-mails about political corruption, casino gambling, and street prostitution in Macau (all of which are legal, mind you).

Yet, like a self-appointed messiah of transparency, Assange is sharing his hacked loot with any news organization prepared to facilitate his self-aggrandizing crusade. And far too many news anchors and political commentators are playing along — like disciples spreading his gospel.

36BC8DCB00000578-3716498-image-a-31_1469925089792Whereas you’d think they would want to hide in shame after foraging through the e-mails of DNC staffers, then reporting and commenting as if they’re “shocked, shocked” that those staffers were doing, well, as staffers do.

This is why their reporting on “Hillary’s e-mails” is so brazenly misleading, especially given that FBI Director James Comey cleared her of any wrongdoing. To be fair, he famously chastised her “extreme carelessness” in using a private e-mail server that “could have been” hacked. Never mind that 99 percent of the e-mails leaked thus far were hacked not from Hillary’s account but from those of her campaign staffers and Obama’s administration officials.

What’s more, all of the leaked “bombshells” pertain to nothing more than mundane gossip, intrigue, griping, and backstabbing among and between those staffers and officials. Which explains why news anchors are reading these e-mails live on air as if they were nothing more than passages from Mark Leibovich’s 2014 bestseller This Town, which fairly lampoons Washington, DC as a veritable Peyton Place.

Nonetheless, this is what is passing for “Breaking News” every day now — as Assange leaks a new cache of hacked e-mails like manna from heaven for lazy, unconscionable and myopic journalists. But what do you think CNN, Fox News, the BBC, the New York Times, the Guardian, and other news organizations would do if Assange were leaking hacked e-mails of their anchors and reporters — purportedly to expose bias in the media? The obvious answer only hints at why my disgust with the news media compelled me to write commentaries like “Journalism Is ‘Having a Very, Very Pathetic Moment,’” November 13, 2013.

Remarkably, no news organization is bothering to question the prurient nature of Assange’s leaks. Worse still, none of them appear to have any qualms about facilitating his cyber crimes, which serve no compelling public interest and are devoid of any socially redeeming value.

But I cannot overstate that, for every embarrassing or compromising e-mail hackers can hack from the accounts of Democratic officials, they can hack equally embarrassing and compromising e-mails not only from the accounts of Republican officials, but also from those of other political parties, civil servants, corporate employees, and private citizens … worldwide.

Again, Hillary and her campaign staffers are the sole victims/targets of these unprecedented leaks. Which is why it appears Assange and WikiLeaks are far more interested in perverting the outcome of this presidential election than championing transparency in government — as they claim.

But this famous homily by Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller should humble those now reveling in leaks that are causing Democrats to lose face and jobs:

First they came for the [Mexicans], and I did not speak out — because I was not a [Mexican].

Then they came for the [Muslims], and I did not speak out —  because I was not a [Muslim].

Then they came for the [Democrats], and I did not speak out — because I was not a [Democrat].

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Meanwhile, apart from the Chelsea-Manning dupes who stole/hacked classified information for him, I dare you to name a single person who has been prosecuted for wrongdoing as a result of Assange’s leaks. But here is how I framed this darker side of his stock-in-trade in “Ecuador Grants Wikileaker Julian Assange Asylum … in London?” August 20, 2012.

__________________

It is plainly absurd for Assange to be championing freedom of speech from sanctuary being provided by a country that is notorious for denying this freedom. Not to mention that his schtick about being a martyr for transparency and freedom of the press smacks of nothing more than a cynical ploy to avoid doing time for his crime(s)…

If Assange were exposing government corruption or activities that betray the public trust, I would be his most ardent supporter. But he’s leading a foolhardy and untenable crusade for ‘complete transparency’ in diplomatic relations. Instead of winning converts, this will only ensure that diplomats will be even more secretive in their dealings to avoid even the remotest possibility of being ‘exposed’…

It is truly mind-boggling that his supporters do not even seem concerned that Assange’s cult-like mission has ruined the careers and endangered the lives of scores of innocent diplomats.

__________________

Incidentally, apropos of leaks that are worthy of the attention the media lavishes on Assange, I refer you to “Unlike NSA Leaks, HSBC Leaks Actually Serve Public Interest,” February 10, 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 7.16.52 AMThis is why I was so heartened when the Associated Press broke ranks with this take on his latest media dump.

WikiLeaks’ giant data dumps have rattled the National Security Agency, the U.S. Democratic Party, and the Saudi foreign ministry. But its spectacular mass-disclosures have also included the personal information of hundreds of people — including sick children, rape victims and mental health patients [as well as that of wholly innocent gay people in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death]…

In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web.

(August 23, 2016)

All of this wanton harm from a man who told PBS in 2011 that, like doctors, he’s guided by an oath to do no harm to innocent people with his leaks. In fact, he has continually violated that oath, and the news media have continually abetted him in doing so.

snowden-cia2.jpg.1000x297x1Ironically, nothing indicates how much harm he has done quite like notorious “whistleblower” Edward Snowden criticizing him.

Two of the biggest names in government data leaks clashed over how to responsibly release information on Twitter on Thursday.

The spat spotlights a major split between how WikiLeaks and Snowden have handled the data they helped make public. Snowden worked with the Washington Post and other news organizations to expose National Security Agency surveillance programs…

WikiLeaks’ approach to data disclosure is more radical: It often posts massive, searchable caches online with few – if any – apparent efforts to remove sensitive personal information.

(Washington Post, July 28, 2016)

Mind you, this is the same Snowden who has done more to compromise U.S. national security than anyone else in history. I’m on record denouncing him for inciting hysteria over NSA spying to keep people safe, while uttering nary a word about Google and other companies spying even more just to sell people stuff.

images (23)Not to mention that Snowden was riding on his high horse from exile in Russia, where hacking for personal gain, like doping for personal fame, is sponsored by the state.

(I wrote about his misguided crusade in “Complaints about NSA Spying Are Schizophrenic … Misguided,” June 8, 2013, “I Spy, You Spy, We All Spy,” July 2, 2013, “From Spycraft to Stagecraft, Snowden Debuts as Putin’s ‘Useful Idiot,’” April 22, 2014, and “More Evidence Snowden Leaks Undermining Global Security,” June 16, 2015.)

Anyway, such is the honor among hackers, traitors, and leakers. But you have to think Assange is especially rankled that Snowden gets to live relatively free in Russia, while he’s holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, like a dinner guest who refuses to leave.

the-fifth-estateThis self-important narcissist is probably also seething with jealousy over blockbuster projections for the movie about Snowden, which opens on September 16, given the flop the 2013 movie about him turned out to be.

Still, the real story here is the media’s complicity in propagating hacked documents that do far more harm than good. For just as Assange will leak anything for attention, news organizations will broadcast any leak for ratings – even the national security of the country be damned.

Frankly, given that Assange remains a fugitive from justice, it’s a betrayal of public trust for news organizations to continually invite him on air to play public crusader. But nothing betrays their abandonment of the most rudimentary journalistic principles quite like news anchors being so eager to have Assange propagate ratings-generating gossip, they fail to ask him threshold questions like:

  • Why are you still holed up in that embassy, Mr. Assange?
  • Do you intend to stay there for the rest of your life?
  • Wouldn’t your crusade as a leaker of government secrets have more credibility if you were prepared to face up to your own secrets? After all, your secrets pertain to serious criminal allegations; whereas the secrets you leak pertain either to legal government surveillance or gossipy political machinations.

This last point is especially noteworthy. Because, for all their leaks, Assange and Snowden have mostly incited hysteria, compromised national security, and undermined good governance in Western democracies. Meanwhile, they have given aid and comfort to totalitarian regimes, which have used their leaks to give credence to the moral relativism that justifies denying their people democratic freedoms.

All the same, I maintain that as soon as ISIS or al-Qaeda pulls off “another 9/11,” which is inevitable, the same people calling Assange and Snowden heroes today will be not only calling for their heads but also questioning why there wasn’t more government surveillance to stop it.

Related commentaries:
Arrest and bail
Assange asylum
Ecuador Asylum
Unlike NSA, HSBC
Making news
Journalism pathetic
Complaints about NSA spying
Google
Snowden leaks
Useful idiot
I spy

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Sunday, at 11:43 a.m.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

My Books

VFC Painting

Archive

Subscribe via Email


Powered by FeedBlitz