Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Quote of the Day


"If I had decided to shame the British authorities on Iraq in 1976, I would have accepted the challenge to see them in court or otherwise face the consequences. I couldn't have expected to help myself to secret documents, make myself a private arbiter of foreign policy, and disappear or retire on the proceeds. All you need to know about Assange is contained in the profile of him by the great John F. Burns and in his shockingly thuggish response to it. The man is plainly a micro-megalomaniac with few if any scruples and an undisguised agenda. As I wrote before, when he says that his aim is 'to end two wars,' one knows at once what he means by the 'ending.' In his fantasies he is probably some kind of guerrilla warrior, but in the real world he is a middle man and peddler who resents the civilization that nurtured him. This Monday, in two separate news reports, the New York Times described his little cabal as an 'anti-secrecy' and 'whistle-blowing' outfit. Such mush-headed approval at least can be withheld from the delightful Julian, even as we all help ourselves to his mart of ill-gotten goods."

-- Christopher Hitchens on Julian Assange

Hitchens's piece in Slate ran late yesterday; this morning Julian Assange is in fact under arrest after turning himself in to police in London. Although hitting him with admittedly trumped-up sex crime charges is even more guileful than charging Al Capone with tax evasion.

13 comments:

Sheriff Bart said...

And nothing of value was lost.

brite said...

Whether you like Assange or not really isn't the issue here.The reaction of the powers that be over the latest leaks is a sure sign that the powers that be are afraid they will have to give up, in the words of David Michael Green "...simply the privilege to lie, and the right to keep their lies and hypocrisies from being exposed."

And Chez, I am surprised that you have attacked Assange and carefully sidestepped the importance of transparency, honesty and freedom of information.I expected more from someone who is "a veteran network news producer".

Chez said...

Sorry, Brite, but at the risk of rattling off a cliche, with the kind of power Assange and his site wield comes a huge responsibility -- and he's let his personal dislike for the U.S., for what he considers our illegal actions and for secrecy in general to be the driving force behind why he does what he does. And what he does is extraordinarily irresponsible.

brite said...

So it's all fine when Wikileaks exposes corruption in Kenya (The looting of Kenya under President Moi - $3,000,000,000 presidential corruption exposed; swung the Dec 2007 Kenyan election) or internet censorship in China and Thailand, but it's extraordinarily irresponsible if someone dares step on the toes of the mighty US Corporate Oligarchy that claims to be a democratically represented government.
Sorry Chez, free flow of information isn't going to quietly bypass the US or any other organization.Also, please keep in mind that Wikileaks is an organization where anonymous people can send verifiable information to be released to other media.I do not think Wikileaks has been, nor will be, irresponsible with the information it receives.Prior to the release of the Iraq files and the latest diplomatic cables, Wikileaks offered the Pentagon an opportunity to work with them to minimize any serious danger or threat that might arise from their release.The Pentagon declined.Who's being irresponsible in this case?

Riles said...

Chez-The quote needs a quick fix...a link made it's way in there.

And "trumped up" is putting it lightly. Rape/molestation charges because the condom broke in one instance and he didn't use one in the other? This is the best they can come up with these days?

Amateur hour.

Stephen said...

It's an entirely different kind of whistle blowing, altogether...

harborwolf said...

Let's get one thing straight. Assange isn't some kind of noble crusader for the truth. He's a self obsessed twat. If he were really "anti-secrecy" as he claims to be, he'd be releasing this crap left and right. Instead he's dropping documents at moments when he chooses to and threatens a "nuclear option" of all of his documents being released when he feels threatened. How noble.

Sorry folks. Assange is just as interested in power as the people he "exposes." He wants publicity and he uses his document dumps to hurt those he has problems with all while wrapping himself in "truth" and "freedom of the press."

And I'll add the disclaimer that I say this as a person that wants him to release all the dirt he's got and prays that he exercises his nuclear option.

Anonymous said...

Brite...I can't believe anyone honestly thinks any government or private entity would work with wikileaks and facilitate or legitimize what they are doing. The government is supposed to expect wikileaks to keep their word that they would only release stuff that the government doesn't view as a risk to human life?!? Really? What from Assange, or any other the other wannabe "hackers" makes you think they would respect the wishes of the government. This is a best, a lame cop out excuse, attempting to defuse blame.

Does anyone else find it telling that Assange is boasting he has a massive dump ready if anyone moves against him? He should be all willing to sacrifice himself for free information. Hell, PFC dumbass certainly fell on a sword to make Assange a household name. If he really cared about what he protests he does, than he wouldn't be trying to basically blackmail civil authorities to get what he wants.

In all honesty, this is just a show. Assange doesn't give two shits about ending wars or showing the obvious abuse the first world throws onto the 3rd...its about being seen in public. He is a celebrity. He could have done all of this anonymously but then he would be one of the peons. He is basically what you get if you taught Brittney Spears how to read and write. There is nothing remarkable about what he has done other than he has ended up in the news way to long for what little surprising shit he actually released.

Anonymous said...

Hitchens, don't die soon!

C said...

I know very little about Assange and what I do know doesn't seem very positive. He isn't a hero, sharing knowledge with the world, he's a smut peddler trying to make a quick buck. Am I shocked that he's been arrested? Not at all, but I'm more shocked that he hasn't been killed.

Anonymous said...

brite, did you honestly just say you don't think Wikileaks has been irresponsible with the information it has received?! Let me ask you a question. When someone in Afghanistan agrees to help our country, as a translator for instance, at great personal risk to him and his family, with the expectation of some anonymity, and then some douche bag makes his name easily accessible to those who would harm him, you don't think that is irresponsible? You're right, it is the pentagon's fault they didn't sit down and hammer out a plan with this guy for the best way to reveal all this information. God knows they have plenty of time, not really busy right now, and after all, this is the great Julian ASSange who has asked for an audience.
Have you or any one of your loved ones ever done anything in service of this country (or whatever country you are from)?
Do you honestly believe that there should be no secrets in this country? That every citizen should have access to the same information the president and the military have access to?
You are living in a dream world if you think that scenario makes the world safer. It makes me sick to think that people I care about are risking their lives so you have the freedom to say such stupid things.

French Anonymous said...

I'm with you Brite. So few people dare to say the truth... Whatever Assange may be as a person, I couldn't care less : he has courage. And he's doing the right thing : exposing the lies of those who have power.

His many critics allege that they are concerned about stupid patriotism or other so-called responsability issues - but they're just like the Palin little ladies, when someone dared to write that their mother's reality show was "failing hard". Yell, curse, death threats, a bit more articulate but it's the same reaction deep inside. Very mature.

And sadly Chez is right in the middle of the herd this time.

Chez said...

Oh, knock it off with the drama, French. What he's done is incredibly irresponsible, and he's done it for entirely self-serving reasons. And by the way, occasionally "the herd" is right.