This brief essay covers only the recent period since Wikileaks published the Chelsea Manning material and most recently, got involved in US politics by publishing damaging material about Clinton but refusing to publish the material on Trump.
It's really less about Assange than about those who have loved and hated him and why. Here is what Trump said about Assange in 2013 on Fox and Friends: I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he's a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country -- you know what we used to do to traitors, right?"
This implicit call for execution was his first public response to Wikileak's head Assange.
But then they joined forces as a result of both detesting Hillary Clinton. When Assange began releasing dirt on Clinton, he refused to release he material he had on Trump. He explained to Megyn in August of 2016:
You're clearly not rooting for Hillary, but are you rooting for Trump?" Kelly asked. "No, I mean, if we have good information on Trump, we publish that," Assange said.
"You know, some people have asked us, 'When will you release information on Donald Trump?'" Assange said later. "And of course we're very interested in all countries, to reveal the truth about any candidate, so people can understand, but actually it's really hard for us to release anything worse than what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth every second day. I mean, it's part of his charismatic appeal that he speaks off the cuff, but, you know, that's difficult for Donald Trump to overcome, a lot of those things, even with a lot of great material coming out by WikiLeaks and other publications."
This self-contradictory answer (He has information but he will no publish it because it is not good and it's no worse than what Trump himself says "everyday.") ignores the journalistic obligation not only to be fair but to let the public decide whether the information is important or not. Information from an external source (where did Wikileaks get the information on Trump?) may confirm or refute what Trump himself is saying. Why not let the public know what Wikileaks has on both candidates and let the chips then fall as they may?
In recent weeks, Trump's call for executing Assange has turned into love. "I love Wikileaks," he says, a gratitude earned by the fact that Wikileaks' decision to publish dirt on Clinton but not Trump helped Trump to gain power.
And then others who had called Assange a traitor chimed in. Suddenly, he was the hero not only of Trump but Fox News and bombthrowers like Ann Coulter. The far right "loved" Julian Assange for torpedoing Clinton.
That in itself is a tale replete in contradictions and absurdities, such as the hero of the left becoming the hero of the right. But, like as crooked paths, it takes yet another twisted turn....and today, it is being reported that the Department of Justice, under Secy Sessions, is preparing to go after Assange again.
Sessions told a press conference in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday: "We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that's gone beyond anything I'm aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious."
The Guardian summarizes what this means: "The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a "priority" for the US, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has said.
In a previous article, When you lie down with dogs: Trump, Assange, and the Pwogs, I pointed out the strange alignment of Putin, Trump, and Assange (who had told Snowden o go to Russia for protection to avoid jail) based on all despising Hillary Clinton and wishing to see her defeated.
The logic of this twisted path of hatred, love, and now promised persecution of Assange is simple to understand:
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