Julian Assange: Saint, Devil or Toxic Ego Maniac? Maybe Firmly Held Idealistic Principles Which He Is Willing To Act On Scare The Living Daylights Out Of The Media Elite .
The N Y. Times, Vanity Faire, New Yorker and numerous other journalistic mediums have done profiles on Mr. Assange and Wiki leaks lately. They all seem to be written in the same theme; Assange was a young genius hacker named Mendax convicted on 24 counts of hacking, with a $2500.00 (Aus) fine and suspended sentence at the age of 21. Now he is a former hacker run amuck.
Appararently Mendax gained entry to many systems but did no damage. Indeed it was his admonition to fellow hackers, who respected him, to do no damage to systems or data. Thus we have the N.Y. Times calling him a “notorious hacker” for something he was convicted of in 1992 at age 21 for crimes committed when he was a teenager. Since then he has been a programmer, inventor and a consultant. There is no mention of his honorable existence for 15 years or so years before Wiki Leaks. The media knows all this because Assange wrote a book about it and freely admits his misguided youth.
Then there is the leak of Afghan War documents allegedly naming 300 low level people who worked with the NATO Forces and who allegedly were put at risk. However no names of persons harmed or killed by this disclosure are identified or discussed. Just a nice round number tossed out and then the articles move on to his domineering personality and reckless behavior. Which is described as evidence of a loose cannon especially when he disagrees with the likes of the Guardian, N.Y. Times, Der Speigel and other establishment outlets, establishment media outlets which now have a vested interest in preserving the status quo.
When one monitors him on You Tube speaking in Sweden or on 40 minutes (and 20 minutes of commercials) and elsewhere Mr. Assange appears to anything but a notorious hacker or a loose cannon. He appears to be exceptionally intelligent, well spoken, sure of his positions and able to defend them against the best prepared journalists and interrogators.
It is granted that he supports transparency in World affairs. Transparency might have avoided World War I and all the secret treaties that caused one country after another to be dragged into the conflict. A belief that transparency might make the World better is a valid belief and the social networks and You Tube are proof of that in N. Africa and elsewhere. It does not equate with anarchy as some news media would like us to believe. Many notable diplomats, journalists, educators and intellectuals pose a belief in transparency but do nothing about it.
Then along comes Mr. Assange, apparently self educated except for a few years of middling college work, well spoken with a keen intellect and he does something in furtherance of transparency that those who formally extolled the concept are now attacking him, first because of his youthful indiscretions and particularly for release of the unredacted Afghan papers. The old saying goes if you can’t beat him on the facts then attack the man.
Assange says he decided to release the papers on a cost benefit analysis. Since the governments involved had always understated the number of civilian deaths he decided to let the truth out as to the actual number of deaths. (NATO deaths are around 2300 and increasing as are civilian deaths and Afghan Army deaths.) The cost benefit analysis is the same one the government made when it decided to extend the war. Thus his motivation was that the truth might end or shorten the war was on rational grounds and does not make him a madman.
Now in the eyes of his former correspondents he is personna non grata. ( The N.Y. Times, Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, La Paz and the like) he is seen as a bull in a china shop no matter how noble his motives are. The media is now disparaging him as a mentally unstable person. (N.Y.Times reporters John Burns and Ravi Somaiya, call him an ego maniac, anarchist hacker; Bill Keller Times Exec. Editor sees him as a Steig Larson character; a counter culture hero or villain; the Guardian, whom he first contacted now, calls him an imperious fool and a hypocrite, etc.) If that was the case why did they become facilitators of his leaks? One has to ask, just who are the villains and hypocrites in this matter.
Perhaps he is so gleefully attacked by the establishment media because as a man born of the internet he has usurped the media’s raison d’ etre , that is to get the truth out.