WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by a.powers-fudyma
Anyone following WikiLeaks and the releases of US State Embassy Cables it has been coordinating with newspapers around the world has no doubt been confronted with details on the organization's founder Julian Assange. True or not, many allegations that seem to be nothing more than gross attempts at character assassination have managed to pile on Assange.
Assange has now been accused of suggesting British journalists, including an editor of The Guardian newspaper, engaged in a "Jewish" conspiracy to smear his organization. The allegation is coming from a Private Eye magazine article written by Ian Hislop that he thought because The Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger was "sort of Jewish" and that he was particularly concerned with how "Jews" were covering WikiLeaks.
The WikiLeaks founder has the ability to speak for himself. He doesn't need people or anyone outside WikiLeaks to take the time to write op-eds specifically dispelling rumors and allegations that continue to stack up. The author does not intend to make this a regular thing and actually has not written much about Julian Assange, the person, at all. But, as the smears continue to swell, they distract from the mission and objectives of the non-profit media organization. Watch Google News and track mentions of WikiLeaks: You will see the effective impact is that news shifts from coverage of recent revelations in released cables to a considerable amount of coverage of rumors and allegations on Assange instantaneously.
It is worth demonstrating how off-putting the continued barrage of tabloid journalism from respectable news outlets is by noting the various allegations that have been levied. But, first of all, to be clear, this article does not aim to say that government officials should not be allowed to criticize an individual it perceives to be a threat. It does not aim to say that "defectors" from the organization like Daniel Domschott-Berg should not be allowed to publish their own "tell-all" books on what has happened.
Back on August 20, the Swedish Prosecutors' Office issued an arrest warrant that carried two separate allegations, one of rape and the other of molestation. His accusers were two women he had sex with while in Stockholm for a speaking engagement. A day later, the warrant was withdrawn. And days later he was questioned by police in Stockholm and denied the allegations. Nonetheless, as his organization began to commence what has become known as "Cablegate," the Swedish authorities renewed its efforts to charge Assange with rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion and a request to detain the founder was approved on November 18. An Interpol "red notice" was issued on November 30 just as the first U.S. Embassy cables were being released.
The allegations, which are just that at this point, have
been reported with little nuance in many cases. As Fast Company pointed out, for example, an AP
article up on Huffington Post went up with the headline: "Julian Assange
Rape Investigation Reopened: Sweden Probing WikiLeaks Founder." The article
included the chief prosecutor's comments noting "no reason to suspect" Assange
had raped a Swedish woman but used a headline suggesting just that. Fast Company outlined they could do this
because it referred to the "investigation," not what Assange did, an "old libel
Feminists used this nuanced campaign to launch #MooreandMe to attack Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, Naomi Wolf and any other supporters suggesting this case seemed to be political or that women should not be using this case to advance a women's rights agenda because there are better cases of injustice out there to be used to raise awareness of how rape is often engrained in culture.
Assange and his organization have been accused of being connected to the CIA, Mossad or George Soros, etc. The Telegraph in England, which was given a batch of cables a little over a month ago, had a blogger post allegations from "an unnamed Iranian analyst during an undisclosed interview on Al Jazeera," who said "Wikileaks had to be a front for these organizations given the nature of the diplomatic cables which discredit "the region's leaders and Iran in particular.'" A post on HumanityinChaos.com recently outlined how all of this has snowballed into a belief that Assange is some kind of agent of imperialism.
Allegations of working for Mossad were said to have come from Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was interviewed by SyriaTruth. Domscheit-Berg denied the allegations saying, "I have been notified about the general rumour a few weeks ago, and shortly after about the appearance of me as involved in those allegations. I have never spoken to anyone at syriatruth or that reporter that is making these claims, nor do I know anything about any deals JA has allegedly made with Israelis."
Domscheit-Berg has made his own allegations, which the media have made the center of news reports on Assange. He claims Assange is incapable of listening to other people's views, he has celebrated philandering and boasted about "fathering children in various parts of the world," preferably with women "younger than 22." He has made Assange seem like someone into animal abuse by spreading a story about Assange suffering from a "psychosis" that led him to spread his "fingers like a fork" and grab his cat by it's throat.
What most reports on Domscheit-Berg gloss over is the charge by WikiLeaks that, as Reuters reported, "WikiLeaks's ability to receive new leaks has been crippled after" Domscheit-Berg "unplugged a component which guaranteed anonymity
to would-be leakers." Or, that he took a "backlog" of leaks that his new organization OpenLeaks could publish.
Executive editor for the New York Times Bill Keller, whose newspaper was denied access to cables because for both batches of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs they showed the government the material they had before publishing, has written Assange is "eccentric," "manipulative," "arrogant," "volatile," "thin-skinned," "conspiratorial and oddly credulous." He says Assange was a "source," not a "partner" in previous releases and contends he would hesitate to call what WikiLeaks does journalism.
Vice President Joe Biden has claimed Assange is a "high-tech terrorist." He alleged that Assange has risked lives or jobs of people around the world, especially Afghans working with the US as informants. This allegation, however, is dubious when considering a statement from Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell made on December 1, 2010:
...After the release of an enormous haul of US defence department documents in August...We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents...
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