Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wikileaks: The Cable Guys

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  • Tim Hannah,

    James, I’m sorry if I misunderstood your:

    point that that none of us were around when the condom broke in Sweden elicited a comment that I was trying to make light of rape, when the opposite was my intention

    But I was reading it in a thread in which you had already referred to Assange being:

    pulled up on BS sex charges

    so I wasn’t entirely primed for the sudden and unannounced reversal. Which I still don’t quite understand – are you saying that rape is such a heavy issue that these women who can’t prove they’re not linked to the CIA shouldn’t be making use of it in their BS politically motivated attack on Assange?

    You’ve linked to Greenwald at least once in here, and I think he’s been a pretty staunch defender of Wikileaks who hasn’t felt the need to say the charges are BS, or just mention in passing how the women can’t prove they don’t work for the CIA. Ka pai Glenn.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    There’s an interesting thesis to be written on American “progressive” males for whom feminism just didn’t happen.

    Not to mention the rabid conservatives who have suddenly realised what ‘consent’ is. At least for the five minutes it takes to make Assange go away.

    [ETA: Kate Harding is good on this.]

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    two minor asides:is wikileaks so dependent on assange that it cannot survive his incarceration? is the cult of personality *that* powerful?

    that 'paranoia and anonymity' thing he used to have the press going on about is looking pretty good now. no?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Not to mention the rabid conservatives who have suddenly realised what ‘consent’ is. At least for the five minutes it takes to make Assange go away.

    Quite -- looking at the usual suspects, I can never quite tell which one of their two faces they'll speak out of at any given time. And as I've said elsewhere, whatever reservations I have about Wikileaks (or Assange) it is totally unacceptable for Americans columnists or politicians to be calling for the murder of an Australian citizen who hasn't actually been convicted of any "treason" anywhere.

    Didn't like it back in the day when a mad mullah was attempting to incite the murder of Salman Rushdie (a British citizen) for going about his legitimate and lawful business; don't like it how.

    And, of course, they're exactly the same people who would be braying for blood if a liberal British or Australian columnist was calling for the murder of Sarah Palin. And too bloody right.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    two minor asides:is wikileaks so dependent on assange that it cannot survive his incarceration? is the cult of personality *that* powerful?

    I imagine it will survive, although if his incarceration turns out to be both trumped up and politically motivated, it's an extremely intimidatory action to take. On the other hand, it's more grist for the Wikileaks mill, giving them their best martyr.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10596 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to BenWilson,

    regarding the substance of the allegations, the Swedes are stereotyped as being liberal and flouncy.

    in reality they are very conservative and almost ‘germanic’ in their adherence to the rule of law. taking into account the likely quality of assange’s defence lawyers, if the charges stick it will be because they have substance.

    and extremely intimidatory? “accidental death” is still on the cards.

    EDIT: notes that these points seem to have been made waaaay back on pages 12, by Gio.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    “accidental death” is still on the cards.

    I believe accidental death, without the air quotes, is still on the cards for us all. I'm comforted by the thought Death has a rather ghoulish sense of humour – though there is some dispute as to whether He rides a pale cat or some kind of dog.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to BenWilson,

    Surely it would make more sense for the women to test themselves for STDs? If that’s what they’re trying to find out, whether they were infected.

    Aside from AIDS point that Giovanni made, another possibility is that they have been tested and tested positive.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Che Tibby,

    in reality they are very conservative and almost 'germanic' in their adherence to the rule of law. taking into account the likely quality of assange's defence lawyers, if the charges stick it will be because they have substance.

    I sincerely hope this is true. Australian press report Assange will be represented by Geoffery Robertson. Robertson is a world-renown lawyer and this, combined with the inevitable large and close media - traditional and new - attention should help ensure a fair trial.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    i always pictured a chameleon. death takes a long long time to get to some.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah, in reply to BenWilson,

    It'll at least survive for a while, though if he the lynchpin he's portrayed as and gets found guilty it may not thrive as well as it would have otherwise - may depend on how long he is sentenced to. But the genie is out of the bottle, there'll be a wikileaks.

    A lot depends on whether it remains as a sexual assault case against one guy or whether someone somewhere manages to come up with an espionage type charge which is passable enough to force extradition on and tie Wikileaks as a whole up with legal procedures for years.

    "accidental death" is still on the cards.

    I reckon Sweden and Britain will be quite careful with him, and Palin's idiocy aside, the US won't be overly keen to do a drone strike on London or Stockholm. Though I'd be hesitant about taking up Ecuador's offer of citizenship.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Not to mention the rabid conservatives who have suddenly realised what ‘consent’ is. At least for the five minutes it takes to make Assange go away.

    The concern trolling is so thick on the ground I find it near-impossible to assume good faith with a lot of the questions about Assange - having listened to too many American self-styled liberals throw a hissy fit about the notion that someone, somewhere may be endangered by the leaks, while showing a complete disregard for the real and well-documented murders exposed by them.

    Oops, I forgot there's been nothing remarkable come out of the leaks, it's just stuff everybody knows (don't click if you don't like reading about child prostitution).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to rodgerd,

    Oops, I forgot there’s been nothing remarkable come out of the leaks, it’s just stuff everybody knows (don’t click if you don’t like reading about child prostitution).

    hence my interest in whether wikileaks will outlive assange. surely the whole staff can’t be accused of crimes?

    here the US is taking the head off the snake, surely they’ve heard of hydra? surely?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Back on the theme of Assange's treatment, this article shows the Australian government at least saying the right stuff about consular assistance etc and is a positive contrast to PM Gillard's initial illadvised comments

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Che Tibby,

    hence my interest in whether wikileaks will outlive assange. surely the whole staff can’t be accused of crimes?

    I wonder if, should it come to that, it might even be good for Wikileaks to demonstrate that it runs just fine without its figurehead.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22688 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Guardian looks at what happens next:

    WikiLeaks is so reliant on his leadership that there is no natural replacement. Tonight plans were even being drawn up to allow him to manage the organisation from a prison cell if his incarceration proves prolonged.

    Critics say Assange's imprisonment has highlighted a key weakness of WikiLeaks – its over-reliance on one person.

    "I am the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier and all the rest," Assange reportedly told a colleague who questioned his judgment in September. "If you have a problem with me, piss off."

    There was a damaging schism in the organisation in September and now WikiLeaks faces a rival start-up group.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22688 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And Cryptome’s John Young renews hostilities with Wikileaks. Young’s starting to look a bit batty.

    Starting? That was full on "Has anyone seen my meds???" territory

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2914 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Russell Brown,

    for starters it would lift some of the necessity to ruthlessly pursue assange. why put significant diplomatic or other resources into extradicting a figurehead when it makes no difference to the output of his organisation?

    now wikileaks faces a rival start-up group

    well heeeellllooo mr hydra.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Starting? That was full on "Has anyone seen my meds???" territory

    Sure, you would say that. Soros is paying you to, isn't he?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22688 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    How much does the government know about you or me? What do government records really have to say about you or me? We don't know, or rather we didn't until Wikileaks came along. How long before the contents of the New Zealand Police computing system is lodged onto Wikileaks? The confidential records of WINZ or the IRD or of the DHB's uploaded by an anonymous employee, motives unknown? It will happen, it is only a matter of by who and when.

    Then we will know what the government knows. All of it. And we will be shocked at the lies, at the venality, at the pettiness, and at the inaccuracies. We'll rage at the injustices revealed and may be shocked at the routine abuses of power by state agencies like the police or the SIS. And all of information would have been gathered and collated and filed and noted from behind an assumed veil of absolute state secrecy.

    And that is what this is all about. Knowledge is power. Wikileaks has shattered the Brittle confection of sweet lies and smooth deceptions that the failed leadership of the West hides behind. Assange has given us a glimpse into the hollow core of grandiloquence at the very heart of our ruling elite, and the elite is reacting with all the spite - and more - you should expect.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    An organisation like Wikileaks with no single figurehead... If it also had no name; well, it would fulfil the dreams of conspiracy theorists left and right.

    Seriously, though; no matter what one thinks of Assange, if Wikileaks is entirely reliant on him, then the organisation is doomed. I mean, what happens if he just dies of perfectly normal causes?

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I reckon Sweden and Britain will be quite careful with him, and Palin's idiocy aside, the US won't be overly keen to do a drone strike on London or Stockholm.

    If it was going to happen, I'd pick a much more prosaic murder style - poison, shooting, car bomb, ice-pick, strangled, etc. Preferably through a well-organized proxy, leaving no fingerprints. But I doubt it will happen - slamming him in prison on a sex charge is a far better outcome. Then he's got something to lose by releasing the keys to the residual data.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10596 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    steven, I’ve not read all the coverage but neither have I read that due process wasn’t followed. Dannielle’s made the point I was trying to make far more clearly.

    I was listening to one of his lawyers being interviewed. His point was equally if not more succinct, than Daniell’s, but from a serious perspective.

    Daniell wrote:

    I think the most dreeeeeamy thing about him is the way he allegedly fucked a woman while she was sleeping. <swoon>

    Go girl, you say it like you are an alleged librarian.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4082 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Wikileaks has shattered the Brittle confection of sweet lies and smooth deceptions that the failed leadership of the West hides behind

    Not just the West, mind. We're just the most outraged about that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10596 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Sure, you would say that. Soros is paying you to, isn't he?

    Not enough, according to Her Indoors.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2914 posts Report Reply

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