My friend Jonathan Foreman has written two superb pieces on Julian Assange – one at Frumforum and one at Commentary – explaining in persuasive detail why the creepy, soap-dodging Australian isn’t quite the selfless hero his supporters claim he is.
Some of my libertarian friends have got it into their heads that Assange is all that stands between the internet as last bastion of freedom of speech and a vicious clampdown by the world’s tyrannical governments. If that’s what Assange actually stood for I’d be backing him all the way. But the impression I get is that he’s much more malevolent and puckishly irresponsible than that. I see nothing big or clever or noble about releasing information which results in, say, Afghans who have been helping US forces being executed or which makes it harder for Western diplomats to perform their roles with tact and discretion. The only reason you could think it was is if you believed that the West was morally inferior to countries like Iraq, China, Iran or Russia and therefore deserved to be betrayed from within in order to make the world more fair and balanced.
Foreman heard for himself Assange’s warped perspective at a conference he gave in Oslo earlier this year.
Assange then reminded “those of you in the audience familiar with World War II” of “the statement that the Nazis put on the front of concentration camps that ‘work brings freedom’—an idea that Himmler had when he himself was in prison.” After a dramatic pause he continued: “But in my investigations, exposing documents which include many abuses by the United States military, which include main manuals of prison camps like Abu Ghraib, Baghdad, and Guantanamo, I have seen pictures on the front of their camps of their slogans. So guess which camp has ‘honor bound to defend freedom’ on the front of it?”
Assange paused again: “The defense of freedom as a value is on the front of Guantanamo Bay! And I say that, as a perversion of the truth, that that slogan is worse than ‘work brings freedom.’?”
Only days after his triumphant revelation of “Collateral Murder,” and only seven months before Assange would release 250,000 secret American diplomatic cables and thereby force American foreign policy into uncharted waters, Assange calmly equated Guantanamo, a prison facility with 600 inmates, to Auschwitz—a Nazi death camp in which over a million people were murdered.
Assange, in other words, is not so much an outspoken defender of freedom and democracy as he is yet another West-hating Quisling in the fine traditions of Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and George Soros. (It’s no coincidence that he has received financial help from the last two. Anyone with Moore and Soros – and leftie filmmaker Ken Loach – on his side is, almost by definition, a bad thing. As for the Jemima Goldsmith thing, no, I don’t understand that one either, except that – cf also PETA, Baader Meinhof – pretty rich girls do love a crap cause).
But there’s one mistake in Foreman’s second article I would like to correct. He says:
One of the most important WikiLeaks postings was the release of the Climategate e-mails that revealed how British academics at the heart of the global-warming consensus had conspired to withhold awkward statistics.
This just isn’t true. At least not in the sense that Assange or WikiLeaks deserve any credit whatsoever for breaking the story. It’s a lie – put about, naturally, by the fork-tongued Assange – which has been very effectively rebutted by Steve McIntyre. (H/T Charles The Moderator at WUWT)
Jeff Id links to a YouTube video of WikiLeaks’ Assange making a variety of untrue or inflated claims about Climategate and WikiLeaks’ role.
Assange falsely claimed that the Climategate emails were broken by WikiLeaks. This is obviously untrue as CA readers know. I can date WikiLeaks’ entry by contemporary comments. The first notice of the emails at WikiLeaks was 2009/11/21 at 2.50 AM Eastern (12:50 AM blog time). The emails had been downloaded by many people (including me) from a Russian server on Nov 19 and had been downloaded by WUWT moderators on Nov 17. A contemporary comment in a CA thread says that WikiLeaks was down and refers people to megauploads. WikiLeaks has not even been a major reference for Climategate – that belongs to eastangliaemails.com (originally anelegantchaos.org) which was up on Nov 20 and provided a searchable database.
This may seem like nitpicking, but it matters. First it denies proper credit to the real people responsible for breaking Climategate: Stephen Mosher, Lucia, Anthony Watts, Jeff Id, Steve McIntyre et al. Second, it gives the false impression that Assange is more heroic, decent and politically even-handed than he truly is.
- Alfred S: Australian schoolboy; climate hero
- Steven Mosher: the real hero of Climategate?
- Childhood hero
- Climategate: Mad Sunday
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