PM speech bubble: Any idea how Howard got away with David Hicks?
AG speech bubble: I'm just checking Wikileaks for clues.
The ALP left finally objects to the government's stand on Julian Assange, having taken more than a week to collect its thoughts ... Gillard's left flank revolts over Assange.
Our AG continues to struggle with basic concepts:
" ... asked to clarify the government's position, Mr McClelland repeated his assertion that it would be illegal in Australia to obtain or distribute classified documents.And again: Julian Assange didn't steal anything, and nothing was stolen in Australia. As far as I know, Private Bradley Manning hasn't put his hand up to seek refuge in Australia either, so the AG doesn't have any intellectually or politically challenging problems on his plate right this minute.
"I said by way of analogy that if . . . serving military personnel or officer of the commonwealth had access to a similar database in Australia and took confidential national security classified information off that website and revealed it, I have no doubt it would raise issues of potential criminality."
Christopher Hitchens leans right - a bit amusing, given that Assange identifies with libertarians, rather than the left - but seems to misunderstand the person and the topic, and being not entirely sure what he's arguing for or against:
"The cunning of the strategy set by Julian Assange, the founder and editor of WikiLeaks, is that he has made everyone complicit in his own private decision to try to sabotage US foreign policy.Well Hitch, given that the actual collaborators were newspapers, and given that newspapers are still deemed the most legitimate mass distributors of information, I doubt that anyone felt guilty doing what they usually do: reading the daily news. The cables are far less grubby than much of the flotsam that nowadays passes for news. Those cables were firstly redacted by the newspapers, and the redacted versions were the very same that Wikileaks published. Wikileaks asked the US State Department for help with editing, but the request was declined.
Unless you consider yourself bound by the hysterically stupid decision of the Obama administration to forbid all federal employees from downloading or viewing the WikiLeaks papers, you will at the very least have indulged in a certain amount of guilty pleasure.
But wait! Out of nowhere, Hitch finds himself with one leg uncomfortably on either side of the fence, the cables (stolen by someone other than Julian Assange), had some wider value, and warranted publication, in some instances (those instances being judged solely by Hitchens):
"In a couple of important instances, the disclosures are of great value to the regime-change diehards among us."The key take outs from this: Assange is "cunning" while Hitchens is a "diehard".
But enough of the gushing praise, Hitchens gallops into a fantasy fueled psychological evaluation, none of which is supported by the few journalists who have met the man in question and who have analysed in great detail what it means to be Julian Assange:
"The man is plainly a micro-megalomaniac [I didn't know megalomaniacs came in different sizes; I thought "mega" was definitive in itself - Ed] with few if any scruples and an undisguised agenda.A little less mush-headed Hitchens might serve us all better.
As I wrote before, when he says his aim is "to end two wars", one knows at once what he means by the "ending". [No, we don't. Spell out your deepest paranoia's next time Hitch - Ed]
In his fantasies he is probably [Can't be sure, haven't met or interviewed him, so lets take a school-boy stab at it - Ed] some kind of guerilla warrior, but in the real world he is a middleman and peddler who resents the civilisation that nurtured him. [By all accounts Assange is quite civilized. Probably even uses a knife and fork when he eats - Ed]
Recently, in two separate news reports, The New York Times described his little cabal as an anti-secrecy and whistleblowing outfit.
Such mush-headed approval at least can be withheld from the delightful Assange, even as we all help ourselves to his market of ill-gotten goods."
Ditto the hand-me-down fluff from Miranda Divine who today (in her "influential column") rolled out what she believes must be a true description of all geeks, asserting that Assange is a "socially inept loner".
By all reliable public reporting, he is charming and absorbing company. The quite forensic narratives of his days in Sweden, in August, suggest that he was socially, not just sexually, surrounded, and quite enjoying himself. Even the women whose accusations later resulted in the pending sexual assault charges against him continued to socialize with him following their assaults, one throwing a party for him, the other in going out to breakfast. A tweet from one of the women (now deleted), three days after Assange allegedly raped her boasted that she was hanging out with THE COOLEST people ... that would be Assange.
Middleman peddles his ill gotten gains
The less than influential or accurate Miranda Divine