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Marion On December - 31 - 2010

I am not a religious person in the least. In fact, I don’t believe in any god; but – unlike seemingly a fair few people of the liberal persuasion – neither do I feel the need to elevate any person, living or dead, to a god-like position. Everybody has feet of clay, and no one is perfect, and that includes people whom some would normally regard as heroes or role models.

But there’s a defining line between having feet of clay and sinking fast in slime.

I’m more than a bit uneasy at the free pass to heroic martyrdom currently being given by many on the Left to Julian Assange, who was currently named The Nation’s Person of the year by the fragrant, but bored, socialite who keeps that publication afloat with her private fortune and reckons this entitles her to be considered a bona fide political pundit. What happened to the days when wealthy, bored socialites visited the sick and destitute? I suppose they no longer count, since many of them watch Fox News.

A lot of punditry on the Left have invested a  lot of speech time and writing space to pointing out the bleeding obvious to their viewers/listeners/readers: People like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell are grifters – narcissistic egomaniacs with media savvy and an eye for opportunity in promoting their personal brands, as well as the ueber-Rightwing agenda of a certain political party, at the expense of wantonly discrediting the current President, both personally and politically.

That is true.

Also true is that both these people have been proven to be liars. The same can be said about the Palin protoge’ Joe Miller, whose supporters had a penchant for armed marches through the streets on public holidays and strong-arming reporters in an overt effort to stifle Freedom of the Press.

But the Left is capable of spawning like demons as well, and no one fits the bill better than the latest drama queen, Assange.

To say this guy gives me the creeps is an understatement, and I’m pretty astute at judging a book by its cover; so I don’t feel as alone in my initial assessment of Assange as a Class A Asshole and drama queen when I’m in such disparate company as Jon Stewart, Saturday Night Live and The National Review. That pretty much covers both sides of the fence.

As soon as Assange burst on the scene, I saw (in this order) book deal, high-profiled interviews and movie deal, with Leonardo di Caprio lined up to play the jerk, himself. I saw dollar signs and offshore bank accounts swelling. And a permanent position in the cablesphere as an “esteemed television analyst.”

I saw the Left clasp him to their collective bosom as the latest Christ-like figure, that position being enhanced by his almost ephemeral image. I heard them proclaim his demands for government and diplomatic transparency, whilst willfully ignoring the fact that the whisteblower not only got noticeably cadgey about answering allegations surrounding possible rape charges but also resorted to open blackmail by daring authorities to follow through with his arrest and extradition.

I don’t know enough about the sex crimes charges to comment on them, per se. I don’t think anyone does, and that includes Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann, both of whom didn’t do their liberal credentials any favours by dismissing the womens’ claims as “hooey.” Moore has a daughter and Olbermann, a sister and nieces. One would hope that, should any of their female relatives have the misfortune to be sexually attacked by some lowlife, that these men would be loathe to dismiss such claims as “hooey.” Anyway, I was raised by my liberal Democratic parents to believe that our party was the party who championed the rights of minorities and women. I guess such things pale in the wake of such a male messianic figure.

I just think that if Assange has nothing to hide, he should return voluntarily to Sweden, answer the charges, submit to the STI and HIV tests and clear his name. I may be wrong here, but I sense that it’s the tests which seem to trigger a ballistic response in Assange, causing him to resort to shouting down any interviewers who raise that point. Doing that not only makes him look suspect, it makes him look decidedly seedy, like a louche and peripatetic roue’, travelling the earth intent on spreading a disease as a means of imparting his disdain to the legion of women he reckons are ready to fall at his feet.

When asked, recently, in an interview with an established British daily, if he were promiscuous, Assange replied laconically that he wasn’t promiscuous, he just liked sex.

So do we all, but if a woman slept with three different men in a five-day period, she’d be deemed a slut in no uncertain terms and called promiscuous (and that’s being nice). How should a man doing that same thing be considered any differently? Yet from the most prestigious quarters of the Left, this man is a hero and his detractors, anything from deluded to CIA operatives.

In a world where, arguably, the most intelligent and articulate man to occupy the Oval Office since John F Kennedy or Franklin Roosevelt, has his every word parsed, his every nuance interpreted and his whole agenda criticized as vociferously by his purported supporters as much as by his detractors on the opposite side; in an era where genuine heroes come few and far between, it amazes me that people have to dig deep to elevate such a pejoratively cryptic, openly hypocritical and deeply dislikeable man to the status of Saviour of the Truth.

He is anything but.

What he is, however, is a grifter, pure and simple – the 21st Century’s equivalent of Elmer Gantry gone rogue, a snake oil salesman who, in another time, would be found preaching redemption for a dime at a tent revival before retiring to a wooded enclave with the intention of deflowering the local village virgin, leaving as a souvenir, the fruit of his loin within her, be that infant or infection.

Are we that morally, spiritually and intellectually bereft that we seek our heroes amongst the people who wish us only the worst, at the same time enriching themselves at our expense?

My personal hero happens to be Keith Richards, but my standards are low, and Richards has never ever pretended either to be something he’s not, or to act as any sort of moral arbiter.

If the people of the Left are that desirous of a genuine messiah figure, perhaps it’s time they went back to church. I don’t know about you, but to me, Jesus is one helluva lot better hero, martyr and messiah than a lanky, skanky Antipodean who looks as though he’s in dire need of a bath.

Happy New Year.

Categories: News & Politics

69 Responses so far.

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  1. GirlOutWest says:

    May I use a term often found at another site…FANNED! I was astounded by the love fest for Assange and I continue to be shocked at the animosity many lefties hold for the President. I will say I believe some are fake lefties but most are real and unnecessarily hostile and short on patience. I know that more positive moves have been made by this WH than any other in decades and I’m baffled that so many don’t see that. Assange…he’s just plain weird and possibly dangerous.

  2. kesmarn says:

    I have more than a little trepidation about wading into this discussion--especially since, like Khirad, I find my opinions both on the man and the situation to be still a work in progress.

    Part of the problem in understanding Assange is, I think, the difficulty of getting into the head of both his generation and the subset of his (and maybe a younger) generation who are hackers or hacker-sympathizers. These are people who have grown up in the milieu of the open source vs. corporately controlled code controversy. “Open source people” are passionate about — well — openness. Naively or not, they believe information should be out there for the sharing, and it is not meant to be bought, sold, and kept under wraps. They have found multiple ways to avoid copyright protection and pride themselves on defeating anti-hacking systems, which they believe benefit corporations much more than even artists or the creators of intellectual property. Having grown up in this environment has — for better or worse — shaped the way they feel about information in general.

    And I think Assange himself may be stuck in a bit of a time-warp. He seems to be thinking he is dealing with a Bush-controlled America, which may be somewhat excusable on the grounds that it really hasn’t been all that long since Bush-Cheney did run the show. And they ran it in a way that really did frighten much of the rest of the world. I can almost understand how a guy who might connect being extradited to America with ideas like “extraordinary rendition” and even “Gitmo,” would be terrified at the prospect. He doesn’t seem to have figured out that a different guy is in the White House now.

    Now here’s where my ambivalence kicks in. What if there really is a certain level of redeeming social value in all this transparency? Is it at all possible that North Korea’s decision to start 2011 by backing off from the confrontation with South Korea was based — even in part — on the leaks from China which indicated that China was getting fed up with NK’s childish behavior? Did those leaks play a part in disabusing Lil Kim of the notion that China would back him consistently, no matter what sort of risks he might take?

    And — this is one of those things that I know I “shouldn’t” feel, but do: if Assange pulls the trigger and releases a boatload of documents on one of the major world-wide but American-based financial institutions that had a hand in creating the mess of a recession we’re in, I’m going to be experiencing some major schadenfreude. I can’t deny it. Even though it might fall into the same category as the secret delight I felt when Hugo Chavez stood at the podium and announced that he could still smell the sulfur lingering in the air after the diabolical Dubya had spoken before him. Yes, Chavez has his own flaws, but I was so relieved to hear someone say what, at that point, no one else wanted to say, that I was for a moment willing to overlook them all.

    Like Cher, I admit I have been pushed to the point of near irrationality by some of the villainy that has gone on over the last few years. There’s a part of me that appreciates Assange’s purported affection for transparency. The problem I have with it is that in the Obama era, it seems somewhat misdirected. Why not go after the real bad guys? How about C Street? How about Wall Street? How about BP?

    If you’re going to leak…leak something important. Up until now, Assange has mostly accomplished only the “refudiation” of his own theory that nearly all major governments are sleazy. Hillary Clinton’s State Department is not the Seat of All Evil. Surprise.

    Now, Mr. Assange, tell us something we don’t know. Turn your Death Sunshine Ray on an area where it’s really needed.

    Or else, sit down and be quiet.

    • bito says:

      k’es, while I agree with much of what you say, I wonder. Reading through some of the articles in the Globe and Mail, it seems that Mr. Assange is not so much interested in transparency as he is in conspiracy, anti-Americanism and toppling of institutions of his choosing. His second in command and much of the staff of Wikileaks have formed a new group called OpenLeaks promising transparency and not ideology. Breakaway WikiLeaks staff form new service. He has lived 39 strange years filled with an almost love of feeling persecuted. Two articles, Who is Julian Assange?The warped world of Julian Assange, I found of interest.

      Julian Assange is no champion of openness, transparency and democracy. His stated aim is to bring down institutions of government and business by crippling their ability to communicate internally and share information. He’s no Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. He’s more like Ted Kaczynski, who didn’t care what he blew up.

      Much information and opinion out there on the situation, I find him more of a egomaniacal, conspiratorialist, sociopath, and pretty much a jerk. Instead of returning to Sweden to answer questions (he has never been charged), he chose to yell conspiracy, honey-trap. No easy answer, but I don’t think his motives are “pure.”

      But his high-publicity drama, and a brief and angry statement he issued through his mother on Tuesday morning, have drawn attention to his elaborate guiding philosophy, which views government not so much as a public service as a set of highly organized plots against the people.

      • kesmarn says:

        b’ito, sorry I crashed there for a while and then woke up at 2:00, still pondering this situation. (That’s when you realize you really are a political junkie, and helpless against it! 😉 )

        I suppose, when all’s said and done, I’m less interested in what motivates Assange (although that’s interesting) than in the effects of Wikileaks. In fact, the more I think about it, the breakaway group may prove to be more effective than Assange’s original (I say this, hoping that they actually do have the ability to use at least some discretion when it comes to protecting the identities of innocent people.)

        I have to ask the question, though, that many of these people are asking, namely: is there more to be gained through transparency than secrecy in most situations? And I’m inclined to lean toward a yes on that one. (I’ve wondered if even Hillary Clinton — if she were allowed to be candid — feels the same way. Her “condemnations” of the leaks seem to lack --what would you call it? --vigor?)

        I don’t know if I’m right. Honestly. I have to factor in how disillusioned and even angry I am over all the secrecy that surrounded the buildup to the Iraq war, Gitmo, the years prior to the financial collapse, the warrantless wiretaps and so many other problems. It makes me hostile to secrecy in general. Which may not be an entirely realistic attitude…

        As I say, I’m still working through it all.

      • Khirad says:

        Through his mother?

    • Chernynkaya says:

      WOW-- you speak for me, Kes! Great, great insight into the open source thinking. I hadn’t considered that aspect.

      Having just read bito’s comment about Assange’s view that ALL government is bad/imperialistic--actually a “New World Order” theorist when you get right down to it-- your comments about that are spot on.

      And YES-- why not go after the bad guys? Well, if the link bito provided is accurate, Assange sees everything equally evil.

      • kesmarn says:

        Thank you, Cher! This is one of the most complex issues of recent times, I think, and there’s a lot of room for disagreement, even among people of good will (who are in other areas completely sympathetic with each other).

        I appreciate your kind words.

        (And, due to a 2:30 a.m. clumsy slip of the thumb, I accidentally gave your comment 3 stars! Oops. Blame it on holiday fatigue!)

      • Khirad says:

        Yes, the open source bit struck a chord with me, as well, and one tinged with a bit of the Alex Jones.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        According to Assange, he doesn’t “go after” anyone so much as he releases whatever documents make their way to his organization. He would love for more Chinese, North Korean, etc, whistle blowers to appear. The nature of American society, and America’s reach in the world, naturally results in more leaks emanating from it, according to him.

        As to the point about him being a sort of Alex Jones, conspiracy-minded Cassandra, I think it’s pretty accurate to characterize him along those lines.

        • kesmarn says:

          I think, to give him his due, WTS, that he probably would publish North Korean documents that came his way.

          But I also sense that he does have some hostility toward America, that may have been more legit when the really bad guys were running the show. I’m not entirely sure he feels there’s any difference between the America of 2011 and the one of, say, 2006. And, I suppose people could argue that there’s not a huge difference. But, to me, we’ve moved a long way toward rationality, humanity and openness since the nightmare that was Bush. We may not be there, yet, but at least there’s a little more good faith.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            I understand, Kes, but still feel that “sensing” that he has a special hostility toward the U.S. needs to be placed alongside the man’s own words stating that he doesn’t. The first source should always be the person him/herself, and then we can look deeper into the matter and see if those words hold up or not.
            I would wish the same for myself. One of the things that makes me unhappy in this life is when someone reads things into what I say that aren’t actually there.
            btw, Happy New Year, kes! You are always a pleasure to debate with.

            • kesmarn says:

              You raise a good point, WTS. After reading your comment I did a search for Assange comments regarding the U.S. and — even though it was admittedly not an all-day search --I have to say I haven’t come up with anything that supports the idea that he’s hostile to America in particular. Thank you for taking note of that unsupported assumption on my part.

              And a very Happy New Year of the Rabbit back to you, WTS, along with a big ditto on your last sentence.

    • Khirad says:

      Yes, the North Korea example is another good one.

      I agree with all the rest of it as well!

  3. Questinia says:

    Wow! Where do I begin?

    1) I wouldn’t assume anything about Assange, as the adage goes, it’ll make an ass out of you and me. This includes a flowery riff on his peripatetic HIV Mary inclinations.

    2) You imply a feminist inspired delineation that sluts have it rough and roues get free passes and this is something Assange’s supporters may need to look at. What does promiscuity, moreover the issue of possible gender bias, have to do with anything?

    3) You appear to think that there is a grand plan of monetary gain, and grandiose “griftiness” on the part of Assange all focused on obtaining glory, fame, and riches. Together with the assertions of #2, that is not only presumptuous but also evidence of black and white thinking that somehow our “heroes” need to be entirely virtuous and without moral blemish and our villains need to be entirely dastardly. Why can’t Assange be a potential scoundrel AND hero to whomever, in this case elements of the left, who jones for David to slay Goliath every once in a while?

    4) You stand on sturdier ground when you cite the hooey-ness many on the Left levy on the sexual assault charges. The rape issue is very complex and any assumption on the part of Moore or Olbermann of the rape accusation as hooey is both black and white thinking and callous denial of something potentially heinous in the service of championing their “David”. Where you go dreadfully off course I think, even though you may just be positing, is when you write Assange doesn’t want to go to Sweden to submit to STD tests for the reason you give. Wts’ clear explanation of the extradition agreement between Swede and the US, something the press has routinely apprised us of, is certainly more of a concern to him than if he’s outed as a sexual psychopath.

    5) Despite the left consisting of feminists not only of the Assange Kool-Aid drinking variety like Naomi Wolf (who gets criticized for abandoning the rape issue altogether) but other feminists who see the Wiki-leaks charge entirely through the lens of the rape charges, the rape charges and the Wiki-leaks case need to be seen as mutually exclusive. If we were to let one influence the other then we may need to look at the deeds of Martin Luther King and how his extramarital sexual conquests might affect his public persona and social genius. Conflating the two is dangerous. Similarly, giving glib motivations on behalf of other people is also dangerous. I don’t think anyone is that good a reader of book-covers especially when all the information is gotten through Kindle.

    • Khirad says:

      I continue to be very conflicted by this guy.

      I will say that I don’t see him as a Martin Luther King, Jr., and that heroes are those risking their lives against the Myanmar junta and such. However I see your point because the name that came across my mind at that part was Gandhi, who it has been attested was a bit of a hypocrite when it came to sex and alcohol. So, while I don’t discount character issues, it certainly isn’t black and white.

      As to the rape thing. I already feel shamefaced for my initial gut-reaction to the accusations. I do hope there’s more to it than what I’ve heard, but I’ll admit the Kobe Bryant and Duke Lacrosse Team fiascos have taken their toll on me -- and as much as I support women and know sexual assault to be a huge (vastly underreported) problem, as a man, I’m mortified that all a woman has to do is accuse you, and you’re branded for life -- whether guilty or not. Perhaps it’s an irrational fear, but it’s enough that I don’t put myself in those situations.

      In any case, he should go back and prove that it was just a slipped condom, a dickish move indeed, but that they did not protest at the time and no one made them stay. If they did protest and they were forced to stay? Well, that is rape. I’ll admit I haven’t followed much more than that. I’ve followed more than javaz, but I’m kinda ambivalent on this guy right now.

      I reserve my final judgment on him, but I do know that Specialist Manning is in some deep shit. I wanna know more about his deal, and what he was thinking. If anyone wants a hero -- HE’S the one that put his ASS on the line. I can’t call him a hero either though. Did he know all that was on those files? What if they had really been sensitive, or nuclear related, “here’s how to build the bomb” etc? (Though to be fair, his security clearance was nowhere near that high.) I love transparency and hate the excuse of “national security” when it’s invoked too often — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still limits where it is appropriate.

      But again, I don’t know just how much thought was or wasn’t put into all of this -- or if it involved more players than Specialist Manning and middleman Assange. I’m not impressed by Assange’s character though. I don’t see any consistent evidence of clear principles or objectives in his leaks, other than to say ‘he can’.

      • Questinia says:

        I also want to know about Manning’s fate. I’ll bet he’s not too comfortable.

        Assange seems like a smug post-modern “hero”. He has all the moral ambiguity of a Rohrschach and inhabits a quicksilver world which is as ethereal as the internet. Plus he straddles two very complex and ambiguous issues. We could entertain ideas till the troops come home.

    • boomer1949 says:

      Well, to begin with, I believe you have a much greater insight into what makes most of us tick, including “Sir AJ.” That said, and IMO,

      if this guy were a citizen of the United States and had not relied solely on an enlisted Pfc. for information, then I might cut him some slack. However, it seems to me, Assange is nothing more than an opportunist, hell bent for making a name for himself, regardless of the collateral damage.

      His history is nomadic, no specific address, no place to call home, no family per say, almost like “one of our own” assuming a different identity.

      Nevertheless, any woman (myself included, and I’m not that much to write home about) in the world has a right to say “No” to whatever, whenever, regardless of the circumstances. If the “No” falls on the deaf ears of the accused, then the one owning the ears should be required to face the music.

      Crying foul and fighting extradition screams, IMO, something to hide. If one has nothing to hide, then one has nothing to hide; going to court in Sweden should just be a formality.

      Sorry y’all…he is creepy, creepy, creepy.

      • Questinia says:

        I can’t say I know any more than anyone else about what makes Assange tick!

        However just because he looks creepy, may be an opportunist- (as an aside what does that make the Pfc and why would you give Assange more slack if he was a US citizen?)- doesn’t make him any less worthy of a presumption of innocence. It’s hard to know how someone who has humiliated a lot of powerful people and systems weighs a charge of rape even if he is certain that he is innocent. He may simply have tactically decided to appear guilty of a lesser crime than making himself vulnerable to international ire by those who can really make their ire known!

        I’d disagree with any hysteria and hyperbole associated with this case. Emotions will be there but one needs to be careful just how much they color the perceptions of the story of this enigmatic guy.

        • boomer1949 says:

          Questinia, and with all due respect Doc…I am not you. I have neither your education nor your experience.

          I am, however, someone who has been around for a very, very long time and, although I am not a shrink, I majored in Psychology in college, and if not for numerous and, as some would say, my short-sighted choices, resulting children excluded, would be walking in your shoes and sitting in your chair.

          Sure as hell would beat trying to survive on $32,000/year and an ex-husband “surviving” at 3-4 times that.

          I own my wouldas’, couldas’, and shouldas’ — no one else does — I do not expect them to.

          That said, I go back to my original “first impression” of the man, Julian Assange. Each and every step of the way based, totally on his demeanor, unresponsiveness, lack of eye contact, and yes, creepiness.

          If I were being accused of rape, I would want to prove my innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, this man is fighting extradition, the opportunity to nullify the charges against him. Moreover, unless he can prove the Wiki Leaks crap is directly related to the rape charges, this is a no brainer. Wiki Leaks is one issue, the rape charges are another.

          Let the chips fall where they may, and if the heat is overwhelming, then maybe Sir AJ should have stayed out of the kitchen.

          PS — I probably would’ve been a failure as a shrink. I don’t beat around the bush and, if your eyes give you away, you’re dead meat in mine.

          Moreover, since I tend to write as my “true” self, I am easily identifiable to those who know me best, and I can not fake them out.

          Each of us is coming at this from a different perspective (professional, personal, or otherwise). All of us may be correct, yet none of us may have a clue. All is speculation and conjecture…only the players (Sir AJ and his accusers) know the real truth of the matter. The rest of us are — duh — what?

          Wiki Leaks and the rape charges are entirely separate issues — or at least they SHOULD be.

          • Questinia says:

            Boomer, I just don’t think it’s that simple. That’s what makes the guy SO intriguing. Assange is someone who is a long-time underground hacker who knows his way around the MSM. He’s managed to marry this to ethical concern for transparency in our doings around the globe and a private life that appears messy as hell. If he really WAS creepy just because he looks creepy, that would be inconsistent with the contradictions he embodies in some way. Seriously, I think he’s scared to be extradited to the US.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Amazing comments, Q! (I mean that in a good way.)I have some serious issues with Wikileaks, although it is certainly not a black and white issue for me. I felt the video release of the aerial murder of the Iraqi press stringers was important for people to see-- the diplomatic cables, I thought were heinous. Further, I have no essential problem with state secrets and see no good reason for making everything public. In fact, I believe that is damaging overall.

      That said, I really think your comment about “David v Goliath” is so insightful. That is an element that needs examination. Maybe I am projecting my own issues here, but I think that in the face of outrageous Right wing power in the media, many on the Left want an equal counterbalance. I have admitted to being driven slightly irrational by the Right, and this may be an example of how that plays out. It’s an over-correction: Since the Right wants draconian secrecy and the Patriot Act, we want zero secrecy and no security measures at all! That’s nuts too.

      I also see the conflation between the message and the messenger. It is a topic I have grappled with-- the dichotomy of great works (though Assange’s work is hardly “great”) and terrible people who produce them. I used to not listen to Richard Wagner because he was a pre- Nazi, until someone asked me if I would prefer mediocre music from a nice fellow.

      My opinion is that Assange is a jerk and possibly a rapist, but that is separate from Wikileaks. Where I do think it comes into play somewhat is that it speaks to his character. I ask myself if his character (or lack thereof) towards women can be extrapolated to encompass his works on Wikileaks. I don’t know, but it is not a de facto formulation. Your mention of Dr. King is a perfect case in point.

      • Khirad says:

        Ooh Cher, read this after I wrote my comment, and I should have just not written mine, because you said it better.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Khirad, I just read yours, and we are really on the same page on so many of those issues. No reason to prevent you from voicing your POV, though! We came to the same place with different--but by no means better--words. I actually enjoyed reading your take.

  4. bito says:

    Neither The Nation nor KVH named that Assange the person of the year. Online readers (who are they, everyone from readers to paid posters?) chose him. There have been both pro and con articles in the The Nation on Assange and Wikileaks.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, using the excuse that, Sweden will extradite him, don’t all EU, including the UK,countries have extradition agreements with the US?
    Going to the many discussion here on the Planet, mostly in MB, his not answering questions to the Swedish authorities, is not supported by the timeline from the allegations to the SoS leaks.

    • Khirad says:

      No kidding. Last I checked, unless it carries the death penalty, it applies for both countries.

      I don’t know about the time line though. I’ll have to see it again. I thought he’d released the copter one and the Afghan one before the allegations? Or am I missing something when they were made earlier than I thought?

      • Kalima says:

        He had released the murder of innocent Iraqis, but nothing else. The charges were recorded in August to the police in Sweden. His first release of the Iraq War Logs were at the beginning of October, I left the necessary links at least twice on MB.

        • Khirad says:

          I know you did, but the Afghan War documents leak was July 25th, after the first helicopter one in April -- it was the first huge dump. So, I’m wondering if I was missing something still on the timelines. (Not that it makes the conspiracy theory more or less valuable, I just don’t see the validity of the argument in disproving the allegations).

          Like, this one starts in August.


          • Kalima says:

            His first dump after the controversial video was of the Iraq War Log, Afghanistan came after, I really don’t know where the BBC came up with this, I would go with The Guardian timeline because they were one of the first to receive his first dumps. It was in The Guardian that it was pointed out that the women informed the police in August because of fears of STD and they had no joy in their contact with Assange, who told them he was too busy for a test. Then the women got mad enough to contact the police. Knowing that STD can lead to many other things, including infertility, I don’t blame them a bit.

            • Kalima says:

              For the life of me Khirad, I still remember it was the Iraq leaks first, am I going nuts?

              As for the other, I already said it on MB several times before. If you are innocent, go back and prove it instead of whining that someone is out to get you. There you have my main problem with this, his excuses make me mad.

              As for the women bearing some responsibility, ok, but who knows if they were sober or high, and to me, both would be taking advantage. A woman has a right to change her mind before and during the actual first penetration, sorry, but I believe this 100%.

            • Khirad says:

              Actually, the Afghanistan dump was before the Iraq one (July 25, October 22 respectively) -- not that it matters which was first. I thought the assertion was just about the war leaks period, not which one it was. Or is that what I’m missing? That one was of more concern than the other? Call me confused.

              Well, the STD thing is understandable. It’s a pretty dick move by him. Rape? I’m still not quite sure. Guys pull complete dick moves all the time. Doesn’t want to use a condom? Get up, put your clothes on, and walk out -- assume he has an STD -- don’t be shocked a guy wasn’t completely honest with you to get in your pants. They, too, are adults. You want to use Interpol to find out? fine, I guess. It’s better than Maury. It seems a little odd, but there’s nothing wrong with pursuing it.

              Whatever happened, there’s one sure way to get to the bottom of it, and that’s to go back to Sweden. He only makes himself look guilty of worse -- which he indeed may be. Then at that point I’ll be 100% behind the women. At this point, I just don’t know what to believe. I’ve seen both sides. Trumped up charges and (more often due to stigma involved), legitimate accusations. I just don’t know which one to classify this as yet.

              I still find it an incredibly tricky matter -- and never like defending guys like that (if he indeed is even like Kobe or the Duke Lacrosse boys) -- but honestly, women need to use a little more sense hooking up with guys like that in the first place. For reals. That’s sorta what gets me a little ruffled. If one goes for bad boys and jerks (and I don’t know Julian Assange, maybe he’s neither), don’t be surprised. Not that a woman deserves anything bad to happen to them, but use common sense and be careful so one doesn’t have to chase him down in another country later.

            • bito says:

              Khirad, a pretty good time line.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      bito, yes, good point about extradition. In fact, in the David Frost interview, Assange states that he doesn’t feel safe in England, just safer than if he were to return to Sweden. It has to do less with the agreements themselves than how they are put into practice.

  5. whatsthatsound says:

    Happy New Year Marion.
    Assange never said that he “just likes sex”. In fact, in all interviews he has stressed that he feels that “a gentleman” should not talk about his private life and has tried to avoid the question. In the quote you are referring to, he says he likes WOMEN, not sex, and then goes on to discuss how women have been generous to him in numerous ways, deliberately (and quite awkwardly) keeping it very ambiguous.

    In his interview with David Frost, he makes it very clear that his fears of going to Sweden are that he will be extradited to the U.S., where he fears he cannot possibly get a free trial. If indeed this is paranoid, it is not without precedent, as it has been pointed out (by Bianca Jagger) that Sweden has used its extradition agreements with the U.S. in the past to send alleged terrorists to Middle East countries that use torture.

    I can find absolutely nothing to suggest that he is afraid of being tested for HIV, and am astonished (well, not really) to see you take your imaginative leaps to the point of mischaracterizing him as a woman hater who wants to spread venereal disease. If you have something to back up this innuendo, you have a responsibility to present it alongside your charge. As far as I can tell, you are the only person to whom he “appears” this way.

    It’s one thing not to like a person; it’s quite another to channel that personal animosity into smears and attacks in a way that spreads untruths. If you look at one of the comments to you below, you can see that the “Chinese Whispers” has already begun.

    • Kalima says:

      Still wts, I do believe that the Left’s defense of this man is misdirected. Michael Moore went a tad overboard, Assange is in it for the money it seems, hardly a worthy cause in my opinion.

      The sex charge, an innocent person doesn’t run. A victim of sexual assault myself, his public persona depicting these women as liars or even worse in an interview, as Sweden being a stronghold of feminism, is highly offensive to my Swedish roots. I get Marion’s point of calling him a “woman hater” and should this person have transmitted an STD to one of these women, I take it personally as an insult.

      Maybe water under the bridge for some, but as a victim, I do remember the shame.

      These women, right or wrong, have a right to be heard, if it’s just pure bs, let a court decide.

      I didn’t get any retribution, no money to fight him, he was the son of an Ambassador, diplomatic immunity. Let’s judge these women in court, and not in the media.

      Yes I agree, he looks ill, he looks unwashed, he looks very 70’s.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        First of all, Kalima, I am saddened to hear about your own experience, and wish that it had never happened, just as I wish that all instances of sexual violence on the face of the earth had never happened.

        But it needs to be kept in mind that what is being alleged against Assange is different. From the information I have looked through so far (and there may indeed be huge holes in my understanding) the victims themselves frankly admit that the sex was consensual, and that their concern is as to whether they contracted an STD from their encounters. Assange didn’t flee; rather he had already left Sweden after the charges of rape had first been dropped, then reopened and prolonged, by a different prosecutor. He doesn’t go back because he fears that the situation is now being used, not by the women themselves, but rather by persons in power with a grudge against him, to get him back to Sweden to face more serious penalties.

        I am not a vociferous fan of his; in fact I admit that his demeanor, the fact that he never smiles and always talks in the same monotonous way, evokes a certain antipathy in me. But what I WOULD like to “defend” is certain protocols one should follow when writing about a person, and I believe that Marion’s piece is an irresponsible smear that cries out for rebuttal, regardless of how one may feel about its subject.

        • Kalima says:

          I have never stated that he is guilty of anything either, but do view his adamant excuses for not returning to Sweden very convenient for him, especially that his main excuse it a yet to be proven one that he is being targeted because of his WikiLeaks and the women filed charges in August, way before the first installment of the WikiLeaks Iraq War logs, so find that excuse quite null and void.

          Trying to put myself in his shoes, I would have been on the first plane to clear my name, but he waits, and talks of himself as a victim of a U.S. conspiracy, when hacking, especially of the classified diplomatic type is a crime anywhere in the world, why I ask, should he be an exception to the law?

          I read that a man in the U.S. had been charged with hacking into his wife’s email and facebook accounts, so where does a limitation really start or finish. He’s just a guy who published stolen material, is he innocent of any crime I wonder?
          In the real world he would have the title of “fence” he sold stolen goods. He is about to make money from his “15 minutes of fame” with a book deal, should we not be disgusted with his “user” mentality as we are with others who do the same?

          • Khirad says:

            I like fencing better than middleman.

            Assange is the guy who dropped the stuff from the van.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            I completely understand your eloquently expressed pov, Kalima. It is true that I see things differently, but I welcome your thoughts.

            I don’t think it is clearly established that he is in it for the money, any more than Michael Moore (who has become very rich) is, or Picasso, for that matter. I believe he is someone who believes in what he is doing, and I would be willing to bet he would gladly drop the book deal if he could have the charges against him dropped as well. He says he doesn’t want the deal, but needs the money to pay his lawyers and keep his organization running.
            I doubt very much that a year from now we’ll see him lounging on a yacht with DiCaprio while they discuss his movie deal.

            • Khirad says:

              See, from that bito, his aims start to blur with the naïveté of the Tea Party and its views of Big Government.

              In addition, aside from clearly disturbing things released from the wars, his aims have actually by in large been refuted by the diplomatic cables I’ve seen.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              thanks for that information and link, bito!

            • Questinia says:

              Athenian politicians believed that shrinking from controversy is criminal.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Khirad, he just bellieves that dumping government secrets is a good thing, plain and simple. Wikileaks’ motto is “courage is contagious” and he wants to foment a society of whistle-blowers, from what I can tell.

              Keep in mind, I am taking no position on this whatsoever. I’m neither a fan nor a detractor of wikileaks, but I think his goals and aspirations, and those of the organization itself, needn’t be lost as the story become tabloid fodder.

            • bito says:

              WikiLeaks’ Assange equates government with conspiracy

              One Assange colleague, echoing views of other WikiLeaks staff who this week broke away to form the more transparent and politically neutral OpenLeaks organization, called him a “naive libertarian,” adding: “He makes the connection between government and conspiracy. He really does think that WikiLeaks is going to change the world.”

              Mr. Assange launched WikiLeaks with the publication of a manifesto in November, 2006. Titled “State and Terrorist Conspiracies,” he argues that governments, which he describes as being similar to terrorist organizations, can be disabled and put out of power by opening up leaks that will cause their internal conspiracies to turn against themselves.

              Mr. Assange, in this essay and in numerous interviews, describes the modern democratic state as an “authoritarian conspiracy,” a “terrorist organization,” an “unjust system of governance” and a “conspiratorial power network.” In sum, he believes that government is formed of a network of co-conspirators who communicate secretly to pursue a covert aim, which involves controlling and misleading the public, and a government’s main tool is “information restriction,” or simple deception.

            • Questinia says:

              Happy New Year OG K \_ ! 😉

            • Khirad says:

              What exactly does he believe he is doing, though?

              I haven’t quite pieced that together, or how these massive dumps achieve it.

            • Kalima says:

              The likeness is remarkable Q, Happy New Year once again. OG K¥

            • Questinia says:

              It won’t be DiCaprio cause it’ll be


            • Kalima says:

              Many of his former co-workers have left him, they didn’t like the way he did business. I very much doubt he is not in it for the money and fame though, his detached interviews I’ve caught speak of a man who sees himself as a victim, willing to let the reputation of two women be trashed to save his own skin.

              We won’t agree on this I’m sure, but I do appreciate your pov always.

              Bright sunshine is beaming into my windows, a perfect time, and a perfect way to spend the 2nd I think. Off for a nap with the furry little things, they know best. :)

      • Marion says:

        Check out Nick Davis’s latest op-ed in the Guardian, reprinted in Huffington Post. Davis is the Guardian’s senior investigative reporter and was in charge of dealing with Assange on the part of his paper. It’s very factual and states blatantly how Assange has been spinning this narrative and deliberately misinforming the public to pursue his own agendae. Basically, it’s Assange’s way or the highway. He’s now targeting The Guardian for doing what a proper newspaper would do in releasing the Swedish police reports surrounding the alleged crimes committed by Assange against the two women in question. Davis wrote the piece in response to a scathing op-ed in the online edition of the paper written by Bianca Jagger, which was, itself, way off base.

        Jagger was the one who spread, through Twitter, the names of the two women alledging the rape charges. Not the most ethical thing to do. His particular pique with her was the fact that she went ballistic in her article and demanded that the Guardian release the name of the source who gave them access to the police reports, so Wikileaks could “get to” these people.

  6. Kalima says:

    Marion, if you had visited Morning Blog, you would have seen your concerns addressed every day since this whole thing commenced. Shame you seem to never have the time to read the opinions of many others here, or give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Happy New Year.

  7. Khirad says:

    Impressive use of Antipodean.

    And if not a bath, what’s up with the unicorn hair?

    Oh, were I but a photoshop whiz.



  8. javaz says:

    I’ve been trying to ignore this entire leak-saga, but am somewhat aware about what’s going on from reading the tabloid-type headlines.

    Were there any earth-shattering-shocks leaked so far?

    I never knew that the guy was a bored, rich jetsetter, (do they still use that term?), and am horrified by that.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Javaz, he isn’t. That part of the post is referring to Arianna, not Julian.
      But, regardless, Marion’s post is full of ad hominems, so please don’t take for gospel anything it says about Julian Assange. She is writing an opinion piece, and a highly unbalanced one at that. There are much more fair, and factual, sources to refer to.

  9. choicelady says:

    Thank you, Marion! I am unclear about Wikileaks the Fact -- is this real whistleblowing or grandstanding over rubbish -- but over Wiki the Man, I’m with you.

    I agree with you -- the man creeps me out as a human being. There IS the very real possibility that the man can be a complete disgusting person AND have done a good thing; ambiguity is often the handmaiden of good work a la Schindler, T. Jefferson, Lincoln, etc. when personal qualities don’t match world historical deeds.

    But Assange is no Ellsberg. He took no risk, he got some chump to do his dirty work and pay the price for it, and he is the essence of the bored and snotty libertine trying to create uproar rather than a true seeker of truth trying to make change. Ellsberg supports Wikileaks, but I think, reading twixt the lines, he’s not necessarily a supporter of Assange.

    And because especially the Left can tolerate NO ambiguity, they eviscerate core values on rape to defend this man without reservation. How bizarre. Moore has retreated some, says he takes the rape charges seriously, but he would be the perfect person to call out the deed vs. the man and say both things can exist at the same time. Think how that might have advanced us as thoughtful people -- people who can stand on principle and still point out flaws. Wow. Grown ups.

    But we rarely do this. Those indifferent to the women in Sweden are very much like those indifferent to the Afghan women abused by the Taliban but whom we throw away because it’s inconvenient to think we might have an obligation to them. The Left has a new intellectual notion of “agency” which is SO parallel to the Right’s “personal responsibility” it creeps me out: it’s the idea that anyone has unlimited free choice, so being oppressed is a choice. Too many “progressives” use this to blow off whole world populations IF those people get in the way of some other concern, as indigenous populations and their culture might be in the way of environmental controls, e.g. restrictions on salmon fishing taking away First Nations’ food base.

    So we throw away the Swedish women, call their concerns ‘hooey’, because they got in the way of our idolotry. Marion -- you have called it out. For the non-religious Left, personality worship, however temporary, is the new substitute for faith. And like any True Believer on the Right, you better not diss our god.

    Thanks for having the courage to say the truth, Marion. It matters.

  10. escribacat says:

    Courageous post, Marion! Try questioning the motives of Saint Assange over yonder and you’ll get fiercely pummeled by a rabble of high strung and suspiciously defensive acolytes. Questioning the motives of this hacker, who now apparently presumes to be an “investigative journalist,” is the fastest way to the Nasty Button I’ve ever seen over there, and there’s a lot of nastiness to be had.

    I find the cables as interesting as the next reader, but I fail to see how revealing what diplomats say about what their counterparts did at the Embassy reception will generate “transparency in government.” In fact, in the cables I read, I was quite impressed with the intelligence of our diplomatic corps. That old stereotype that Americans are naive bumblers is pretty far off. Furthermore, why go after the State Department — the last line of defense before organized violence (the military)? Aside from providing us with a chance to be voyeurs into the private correspondence of smart professionals, and making the jobs of those smart professionals a hundred times more difficult, what did this “leak” achieve?

    I’ve noticed that there was no monumental shift in the wake of this leak, nothing akin to the release of the Pentagon Papers. There were no great screaming red headlines at HuffandPuff, no “At last, we caught them red-handed.” The whole thing turned out to be just a precursor to Assange’s book deal. The end result of this “heroic” move is that the dumb little kid who copied the stuff is now toast and Assange is now The Toast of the left.

    • Khirad says:

      Yup e’cat, as others have pointed out, the ones I read have proved the opposite of his intended goal. I’m much MORE impressed by our diplomatic corps and it’s slim pickins for the conspiracy minded, putting the likes of Ahmadinejad on the defensive over their claims of Soft War, etc -- in just one example.


      • escribacat says:

        Ole Ahmad didn’t come out looking too rosy, did he? So many Arab leaders trying to get the USA to take him out — ooops! So much for their protestations against USA interference. Was that you who said these guys love having Israel around because it keeps the oppressed masses focused on Israel and not on their own nefarious leaders. And by the way, why don’t they do their own dirty work?

        EDIT: But if that fella did slap Ahmad, I’m a bit surprised that he’s still alive.

        • Khirad says:

          They would collapse tomorrow if they didn’t have Israel and the US to blame for all their ills.

          Yes, that bit about Arab leaders was so not surprising, it’s been reported for years, but this was the first time it came out officially what we already knew was being whispered.

          And much more. One of the cables reported that there had also been clear fraud, while others soberly assessed the coming crackdown last year.

          It has been so damaging that Ahmadi has had to say that this is all part of our psychological warfare against Iran -- that the US gov’t was IN on these leaks!

          So, even though I think Assange is personally a d-bag, I’m conflicted on this.

          If that fella slapped Mahmoud, he’s alive because Khamenei put him in that position to begin with.

        • bito says:

          e’cat, willing to fight to the last drop of America’s blood.

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