Why isn't Julian Assange dead yet?
Here's my Sun column from Tuesday -- sorry to take so long to post it.
It was tough to jam everything into just 550 words -- I could easily have written 2,000 just about how freaky Julian Assange is. I probably spent an hour reading about the child-abuse cult his mom married into when he was a kid.
As Michael Caine said in Batman, "some men just want to watch the world burn."
Why isn’t Julian Assange dead yet?
Assange says he’s the editor of a website called WikiLeaks. But he’s not really an editor, because WikiLeaks doesn’t do much writing.
It’s a website where secrets are posted to the Internet.
But most of the secrets revealed there aren’t really leaked either. They’re stolen.
When WikiLeaks debuted in January 2007, it promised to shine a light of scrutiny on dictatorships. Many of its early directors were Chinese dissidents.
Its focus would be “oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.” They said their “roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-Western authoritarian regimes.”
But then Assange, a computer hacker from Australia, took over.
His obsession is to embarrass the world’s freest countries — the U.S. and U.K. And as to repressive regimes, well, put it this way, Assange says U.S. forces must remember “shooting the Taliban is shooting the Afghan people.”
He’s not anti-war. He’s on the other side.
Assange published the names of Afghan human rights activists and others who have co-operated with the U.S. — giving out names of villages and GPS coordinates.
That’s not journalism. That’s not whistleblowing. That’s setting up “deadly revenge attacks,” says Reporters Without Borders.
Zabihullah Mujahid is grateful. He’s a Taliban spokesman who says “we know how to punish them.”
Assange published details about technology used to stop improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from being detonated. WikiLeaks calls roadside bombs a “rebel investment,” proudly pointing out for every dollar spent by the terrorists, the U.S. and Canada have to spend a thousand to defend against them. So Assange published those anti-IED details online.
This week, Assange started to publish 250,000 U.S. diplomatic messages, many marked secret. The fight against terrorism is being endangered.
Other members of WikiLeaks have complained about Assange’s anti-American obsession. But it’s his show now.
So who is he?
Assange has never been a democracy activist. His parents were travelling entertainers in Australia. When Assange was eight, his mother remarried a member of a cult called “The Family,” infamous for abusing children with psychiatric medication. When that relationship crumbled, Assange’s mother took him into hiding for five years.
She boasts she moved her son 37 times before he was 14.
Assange became a computer hacker and took the nickname Mendax, which means liar in Latin. He was convicted for hacking into Nortel.
His run-ins with the law continue. This month, Interpol issued an arrest warrant against him for rape. Assange claims the sex was consensual. But the Swedish prosecutor says Assange refuses to present himself for interrogation.
Why is Assange still alive? Why is he being treated as a journalist or political activist? If someone had published the intimate details of the D-Day plans during the Second World War, he would never have been seen again.
Assange and his colleagues act like spies, not journalists. WikiLeaks could have its assets seized, just like the Taliban has. And U.S. President Barack Obama could do what he’s doing to the Taliban throughout the world.
He doesn’t sue them or catch them. He kills them. Because it’s war.
Obama has even ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki.
How does Obama see Assange any differently?