Julian Assange: diabolical or magnanimous?

Today there’s word of a “poison pill” that will be launched if WikiLeaks is terminated.

Assange warns that any government that tries to curtail his activities risks triggering a new deluge of state and commercial secrets.

One of the key files available for download — named insurance.aes256 — appears to be encrypted with a 256-digit key. Experts said last week it was virtually unbreakable.

Is it just me, or is this thing playing out like one of those page-turner espionage novels?

On the one hand, reporters defend Assange. Some say he’s delivering the transparency Obama promised during his campaign. Others claim we’re acquiescing to a war regime if we don’t honor Wikileaks’ effort.

The flip side has Senator Mitch McConnell saying, “I think the man is a high tech terrorist.” There’s word the government doesn’t want employees reading the posts unless they have the proper clearance. The White House spokesman had to defend Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, too.

Is Julian Assange a villain or victor? I think he’s maniacal and needs to be taken out before he switches his goal of supposed transparency to world domination. But then that might have been his goal all along. I wonder if he hangs with George Soros? 😉

P.S. The article is worth your time, so take a few minutes to read it. I’d gladly link the source at the UK publication The Sunday Times, but their website is a disaster and available only by subscription, so I’m saving us both the heartache.

Comments

  1. Okay, so the guy is crazy, but are the leaks a bad thing? Is it transparency, or is it, as McConnell says, terrorism?

    I’d like to hear your take on this one. I am a little conflicted, and have been surprised where people come down on this one.

  2. I think the leaks are a bad thing because he makes the fact he can do it more important than what he is doing. It’s very undiscriminating and I think there’s the potential for huge damage on the world stage.

    I’m glad you at least agree he’s crazy.

  3. The Lorax says:

    Yeah, I don’t so much like the personality cult around this guy, but I wonder if this is maybe the best way to push back against some of the more murky stuff going on in the diplomatic world?

    I am always trying to make peace with the fact that diplomacy is oftentimes underhanded, unfair, and brutal. Life is zero-sum sometimes, right?

    But at the same time, i’m all for oversight, transparency, and ethics. So how do you make that compromise effectively? Or do you at all?

  4. To be honest, I just don’t think you can make that kind of effort in the diplomatic world. Whether or not the president is charging his kid’s birthday party to the taxpayers? Sure. (BTW, just an example, don’t know if it has ever happened.) Figuring out the nuances of international relations and the personalities that create those relationships is not something I’d want to play in public. Imagine the finer dynamics of the average extended-family Thanksgiving day on steroids. It has disaster written all over it.

  5. The Lorax says:

    True, but with my family I can confront the wrongdoing directly after witnessing it.

    For the citizen, there is no way to 1.) know about the wrongdoing, or 2.) apply any sort of accountability.

    That’s where it gets sticky. Of course, if the electorate were more engaged this would be less of an issue, to be honest.

  6. Since you both agree the guy is crazy, (and I agree) I say it is always a bad idea to put a crazy guy in charge of reform, or truth-telling in any way. Not a good formula.

  7. Dang, that was very well said RL. Is there another way the man could act to achieve his goal without jeopardizing innocent folk? I think the way he chose is just showing off. It may get him going in the morning, but it’s hard on everyone else.

  8. The Lorax says:

    But maybe it was the only way – and maybe he was pushed to the brink. We don’t know the whole story, and, when you’re a man on the run for your life…things tend to get dramatic, i’d think.

    So maybe he isn’t even crazy. All we have are characterizations. I’ve been watching a lot of CIA crime dramas lately if you can’t tell…

  9. Pushed to the brink? Nah.

    If you like what he’s doing just say so.

  10. I like it , Cindy, that you call ’em as you see ’em. Murky diplomatic doings are the lesser of two evils in this scenerio.

  11. OK, there’s no way some guy has a secret encryption that the government doesn’t have broken. I believe that 100%. I think the military’s computing power is endless, Assange has limited resources. That said, if Assange gets entirely out of control, i bet he’s going to end up dying in a “freak car accident” or something along those lines.

  12. If you’re interested in reading WikiLeaks, their main URL was taken down – meanwhile, there’s a site with a list of working URLs at http://savewikileaks.net/another-wikileaks-address/

    There’s already attempts out there to get Assange in jail on charges of rape, which are most likely just false claims to get him in prison. I do think a government is going to assassinate him if he goes any further or releases any more controversial leaks.

  13. The Lorax says:

    Figured you’d assume I liked him, but that’s not so. Just asking questions and thinking about scenarios.

  14. To clarify, I said if you like what he’s doing, not if you like him. Your questions definitely took that tone. Neutral was not part of the message conveyed.

  15. The Lorax says:

    Of course i’m not neutral–am I ever? But I am conflicted.

  16. Randy in Richmond says:

    Lorax
    I’m not sure how a “more engaged electorate” makes this “less of an issue”. Could you elaborate ?

  17. to be pragmatic, there are some issues that are not partisan/political, and our national defense is a top priority.

  18. People paying attention = more scrutiny.

  19. Randy in Richmond says:

    Lorax
    More people voting or paying attention would have had zero effect on this issue. Except maybe more scrutiny and paying attention by this administration and specifically Eric Holder. I guess he’s been busy with that World Cup thing.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/254298/eric-holder-world-cup-pitchman

  20. So this guy blows open a bunch of low level classified doc’s and gets himself in a world of hurt. We still got the Patriot Act, Military Commissions act and who knows what else as a way to keep us “safe”. So the government can spy on us but we can’t expose their dirty laundry. I think he’s the bravest man on the planet. Bravo!

  21. Randy in Richmond says:

    Tax Hell
    Could you give me an example of how the government can spy on us ?

  22. You lost me again, Randy.