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Archive for December 2nd, 2010

I admit that my post on the hotness of Julian Assange was tongue-in-cheek … his tongue/my cheek sounds good. Yeah … I think he’s cute, so shoot me.

True, he’s not my type in the physical sense, but I’ve always been flexible when it comes to looks. It’s brains and panache that reel me in, and he’s steeped in both. Although his élan is apparently not effusive, Julian’s reserved manner only serves to make him more attractive. That he grates, and grates so effectively, helps, too.

Stealing, as he does, from the rich (powerful movers-and-shakers running the show), and giving to the poor (the rest of us slobs who are supposed to be happy being spoon-fed cud predigested by the former), there is a temptation to brand him a Robin Hood. Although I would SO love to see him in green tights … and little else … that image doesn’t sit well with a whole lotta folks and I’m staying away from it out of a hesitation to stir this pot in that direction.

And speaking of pots … there seems to be a tempest in the one with the leaks, and the reaction to oozing goo is over the top.

Interpol issuing a “red notice” for him, smacks of sour grapes, harassment and a grasp at straws since actually coming up with something he could be arrested for seems beyond the realm:

The red notice does not amount to an arrest warrant. Instead, it asks people to contact the police if they have any information about his whereabouts.

Yes, Sweden wants to “detain him for questioning” on allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, all denied by Julian, but don’t have enough to issue a warrant for his arrest, while Australia is trying to figure out whether or not he’s broken any laws there.

If Mr Assange were arrested he could face extradition to the United States, although analysts say that because the US Espionage Act carries the maximum death penalty, nations that do not have the statute might refuse extradition.

But that assumes he’s done something to be arrested for AND that the US Espionage Act has anything to do with him.

Smear campaign? Mega-bullying? Cart-before-horse? Guilt-before-innocence? Shut him the fuck up before he releases any more shit?

Sure, some peeps are right pissed off. After all, Wikileaks has given the world a peek up the bowels of power. And how ’bout that French president chasing a rabbit around the office?

The incident is described in one of the 251,287 classified cables the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks says it has obtained and shared with several newspapers.

Gasp!

If that’s not horror enough, how about the revelation that Silvio Berlusconi is considered to be “feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader.”

OMG!

Russia has mafia issues? Nyet shit …

No doubt there’s embarrassment … and well there should be. Some of these people are disgusting, some are morons … AND they’re in charge of stuff!

Rolling out the big guns, accusations of dire consequence are bouncing all over the place, but are these real concerns … or nothing more than ramping up the ante?

After the release of an enormous haul of US defence department documents in August, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told the Washington Post: “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.”

… After this latest release a Pentagon official, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the material involved, told the McClatchy newspaper group that even three months later the US military still had no evidence that people had died or been harmed because of information gleaned from Wikileaks documents.

A bit of historical perspective on hysterical reactions to letting people in on what actually happens in the world might help a bit, and who better to pull into the mix than Daniel Ellsberg, the man who gave us the Pentagon Papers back in 1971 and let us know what a fucking mess was happening:

The release of these papers was politically embarrassing to not only those involved in the Johnson and Kennedy administrations but also the incumbent Nixon administration. Nixon’s Oval Office tape from June 14, 1972, shows H. R. Haldeman describing the situation to Nixon:

[then cabinet-member Donald] Rumsfeld was making this point this morning. To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing…. It shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong. John Mitchell, Nixon’s Attorney General, almost immediately issued a telegram to the Times ordering that it halt publication. The Times refused, and the government brought suit against it.

Although the Times eventually won the trial before the Supreme Court, an appellate court ordered that the Times temporarily halt further publication. This was the first successful attempt by the federal government to restrain the publication of a major newspaper since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln during the US Civil War. Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to 17 other newspapers in rapid succession. The right of the press to publish the papers was upheld in New York Times Co. v. United States.

As a response to the leaks, the Nixon administration began a campaign against further leaks and against Ellsberg personally. Aides Egil Krogh and David Young, under the supervision of John Ehrlichman, created the “White House Plumbers”, which would later lead to the Watergate burglaries.

So … what’s that thing about forgetting history and being doomed? And if I recall correctly, the White House Plumbers ended up in jail for doing shit that really was against the law.

Ellsberg’s take on Julian Assange and the present fracas:

He told the BBC’s World Today programme that US officials made that same argument every time there was a potentially embarrassing leak.

“The best justification they can find for secrecy is that lives are at stake. Actually, lives are at stake as a result of the silences and lies which a lot of these leaks reveal,” he said.

“The same charges were made against the Pentagon Papers and turned out to be quite invalid.”

For sure Julian is, unlike Ellsberg at the time, an unknown quantity and … relevant to ethnocentrics … not American, therefore out of grasp and very likely sub-human and of suspecious intent … all the more reason to tweak Interpol into Red Carding him.

A former UK ambassador to the UN adds an interesting spin:

“I don’t think it has been proven that this is dangerous to US troops, for instance. I haven’t seen that case made very clearly,” he said. “What I think this means is that we need to look at our own mechanisms for democratic accountability and foreign policy. We need to be much, much better.”

In what way is that a bad thing?

And, how about the statement from Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations”

At the very least, they will make governments like Pakistan and Yemen and others, which are collaborating with the US in the battle against terrorism, more reluctant to co-operate.

Huh? Excuse me, but would it be rude to point out that Pakistan and Yemen collaborate with EVERYONE, including terrorists? If it takes Julian Assange to make that point … well … that’s just fucking sad, and scary.

Look … I don’t presume to know much at all about any of this shit other than what I read in the news, and maybe Julian is a total dick out to subvert a wonderful working model of civilization that protects us all without lowly peasants like me and you having to know anything about how that happens. Perhaps global leaders are benevolent heroes diligently striving toward peace and freedom with no hidden agenda and no thought toward personal gain, and exposing foibles … with attribution … should be considered a mortal sin.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one.

No matter. I’d still like to have him try that thing with the green tights, and although it’s raining today the view from my bed is still fab, Jules.

For further reading, check out Andy Borowitz’s take today, this from the BBC on what happens when you piss off the big guys, and this lame move from the Swedes covering their asses.

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