National Security & Defense

Wait, We All Trust Julian Assange Now? That Julian Assange?

From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Wait, We All Trust Julian Assange Now? That Julian Assange?

Raise your hand if you expected to see Sean Hannity giving a warm, courteous interview to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks this year:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday that he plans to release several batches of documents pertaining to the Hillary Clinton campaign within the next few weeks and the first could come out as soon as next week.

“The first batch is coming reasonably soon,” Assange said in an interview on “Hannity.” “We’re quite confident about it now. We might put out some teasers as early as next week or the week after.”

Assange didn’t give specifics about what would be in the leak, but has promised that WikiLeaks would release documents on the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that would have a significant impact on the looming general election.

Hannity began the interview, “I believe in privacy. I believe that people — especially when it comes to private emails, personal emails, etcetera, I think people have a right to that privacy. On the other hand, you have done a lot of good in what you have exposed about how corrupt, dishonest and phony our government is and I applaud that. I think that’s good that we know that.”

Afterwards, Hannity added he is “conflicted,” but Assange “did us a favor.”

I’m sorry, am I the only one who remembers what else Julian Assange did?

David Leigh and Luke Harding’s history of WikiLeaks describes how journalists took Assange to Moro’s, a classy Spanish restaurant in central London. A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. “Well, they’re informants,” Assange replied. “So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.”* (See below.) A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths. They persuaded Assange to remove names before publishing the State Department Afghanistan cables. But Assange’s disillusioned associates suggest that the failure to expose “informants” niggled in his mind.

Does no one else remember the consequences of Assange’s actions?

The Taliban has issued a chilling warning to Afghans, alleged in secret US military files leaked on the internet to have worked as informers for the Nato-led coalition, telling Channel 4 News “US spies” will be hunted down and punished.

Speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location, Zabihullah Mujahid told Channel 4 News that the insurgent group will investigate the named individuals before deciding on their fate.

“We are studying the report,” he said, confirming that the insurgent group already has access to the 92,000 intelligence documents and field reports.  

“We knew about the spies and people who collaborate with US forces.  We will investigate through our own secret service whether the people mentioned are really spies working for the US.  If they are US spies, then we know how to punish them.”

Does it just take a perceived anti-Hillary perspective to erase years of work to advance an anti-American agenda?

Since 2010, however, it has been pretty hard to make the case that WikiLeaks is a neutral transmission system. Nearly all its major operations have targeted the U.S. government or American corporations. When WikiLeaks released U.S. government cables, its stated purpose was to reveal “the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors.” By contrast, when it released Syrian government cables in July, Assange was quick to point out, “The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents.” This at a time when 14,000 people had already been killed in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Assange also hasn’t improved his credibility with his TV talk show, The World Tomorrow  particularly with its first episode, a softball interview with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. It doesn’t help that the show is aired by RT (formerly Russia Today), a network funded by the Russian government. And in an ironic twist, the transparency advocate has now cast his lot with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, a past World Tomorrow guest and a leader with a less-than-sterling record on press freedom.

Assange’s relentless anti-American focus alienated former colleagues: “This one-dimensional confrontation with the USA is not what we set out to do.”

Does anybody remember the WikiLeaks response to the Paris terror attacks? “At least 39 dead tonight in Paris terror atacks. 250k dead in Syria & Iraq. Both a direct result of US, UK, France feeding Sunni extremists.” Yeah, yeah, it’s always America’s fault, we can never blame the actual perpetrators.

Did I miss a meeting? Was there some vote on forgetting and forgiving all this if Assange leaks some information that’s embarrassing to Hillary? 

* For what it’s worth, WikiLeaks denies that Assange made that remark, and points to a written statement from one of the dinner attendees that he didn’t say it.