Last week, as the BBC ramped up its mission to downplay the potential consequences of the stolen documents published by hacker and alleged rapist Julian Assange, JournoList groupie and partisan Katie Connolly produced the following article:
Has release of Wikileaks documents cost lives?
Following the open angry statements by various US officials is a series of foot-shuffling and “can’t say, guv”s. In short, the message here is there’s no way to be sure or prove that there is blood on this innocent lamb’s hands.
Except here’s what Connolly and the BBC don’t want you to know: Assange has form.
Back in 2007, WikiHacks released documents about corruption in Kenya.
The leak exposed massive corruption by Daniel Arap Moi, and the Kenyan people sat up and took notice. In the ensuing elections, in which corruption became a major issue, violence swept the country. “1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak,” says Assange. It’s a chilling statistic, but then he states: “On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information and 40,000 children a year die of malaria in Kenya. And many more die of money being pulled out of Kenya, and as a result of the Kenyan shilling being debased.”
A responsible, honest news organization would mention this little fact in an article asking in its headline if WikiHacks cost lives. Yet the BBC chose to censor this information. In fact, unless it was covered in some broadcast or other now lost to the ether (and/or BBC archives inaccessible to the public without an FOI request), they only mentioned what WikiHacks did in Kenya once, and – what a shock – chose to play down any consequences.
I don’t see what Mr Assange is doing that prompts such an aggressive response. Firstly, he is the conduit, not the originator. Secondly, the majority of the information that I have read is a confirmation of what we already know. And, thirdly, any bad news seems to involve the shit of the public arena; who in a just world would be in prison.
His stated goal is to harm US foreign policy. That makes him an enemy of the state, regardless of how exciting these documents are. He encouraged and enabled the young private now up on treason charges. He’s a criminal plain and simple, whether he goes up for two months or twenty years.
John regardless of the rights or wrongs of what Assange is doing the BBC SHOULD have reported or included his comments.
Assange also claimed false credit for the Climategate emails. He’s a dangerous lying egotistical tool.
Or as Christopher Hitchens put it, “a micro-megalomaniac with few if any scruples and an undisguised agenda”
It’s quite chilling to read how he callously recounts the deaths and destruction in Kenya as a result of his disclosures and attempts to justify them by invoking other causes of death in Kenya.
So a governments corruption is leaked to the outside world which results in an election, which then leads to violence and death is this is the fault of the leaker. I suppose all was roses under the “corrupt regime” and nobody died. Also Millie it’s amazing you can deduce his callousness from the above statement which he actually described as “chilling”.
Whether or not the leaks directly caused the deaths is irrelevant. Debating that is a red herring, a distraction from the actual issue at hand.
The point here is that Assange claims it as so, and feels that those deaths are justified. Furthermore, this is something that ought to be mentioned in a discussion of whether or not his latest activity will endanger lives, especially given Assange’s stated intent of causing harm to US foreign policy.
It seems Assange doesn’t care if lives are lost or not.
David: Also Millie it’s amazing you can deduce his callousness from the above statement which he actually described as “chilling”.
Er…no, actually he didn’t describe it as chilling; Carole Cadwalladr who wrote the article in The Observer did.
The manner in which he dismisses loss of human lives and seeks to justify them tells us a great deal about him. As I’ve said before, he is a reckless and irresponsible egotist. The more I read from him and about him the more it seems to me that he is a dangerous and unbalanced individual lacking human empathy, imagination and conscience while busily proclaiming a moral basis for his extreme behaviour.
BBC Newsnight loving Assange right now. He’s so brave, it’s wrong that he’s being villified, the US is shutting down free speech. No mention of his anti-US goals, no mention of his hacking.
There are probably posters of him going up on the walls of BBC hallways and bedrooms.
‘His stated goal is to harm US foreign policy. That makes him an enemy of the state.’
Neocon logic is truly chilling at times.
BenS, please explain where and how I’m wrong. Your remark doesn’t make it so.
On the basis adopted by the BBC, and slavishly emulated by its supporters who have yet to appreciate there are those who need a bit more over simply swallowing all that is pumped out, saying anything makes whatever you want ‘so’. The power of unique funding, £3.6B of propaganda, invincible employment deals and a national broadcast only audience of at least 60M (plus those in other countries enjoying the quality of journalism produced).
Equally, the truly appalling deceptive mechanism that is editorial by omission, practiced hourly chez Aunty across every partial tribal area it infects… is chilling.
Of course you’re wrong. The ‘state’ isn’t something corporeal, or at least if it is we may as well disabuse ourselves of the notion that we’re living in anything close to a democracy. No, ‘we’ ARE the state, if the state must be defined in such a way, and Assange’s actions have done nothing except harm the sensibilities and interests of a separate group of people who are working towards their own ends. He’s done nothing to the millions of citizens who are misled by governments and the media to a ridiculous extent.
US foreign policy, like the foreign policy of most western countries, is pretty much a nonsense that doesn’t benefit its citizens. A sideshow, for stupid people to gawp at. Wanting to harm it doesn’t make a person an enemy of 300 million people.
BenS, Assange has stated his intention on more than one occasion to harm foreign policy activity of the US. Even if we use your definition of “the state”, he is still declaring himself an enemy. Foreign policy of the US Government is in theory undertaken on behalf of the people. Assange doesn’t merely want to inform us of that activity, he wants to block it, to stop it. There’s a difference.
Your definition of “the state” doesn’t change the fact that Assange is a self-declared enemy of it. Please read his own words to that end.
He’s an enemy of politicians, civil servants, diplomats and other rent-seekers who benefit from US (and UK, I suspect) foreign policy. He’s still not the enemy of 300 million (or 60 million) people, as you are portraying it.
BenS, those politicians, civil servants, and diplomats are us as well. You’re just playing word games now and redfining things to suit your argument. This kind of deconstruction won’t hold up no matter how much you push it.
No, I’m being quite clear.
Assange claims to want to bring down US foreign policy. You suggested this makes him an ‘enemy of the state’ which is, to you, criminal.
I’m suggesting that he’s not an enemy of you, your friends, or your other countrymen, but an enemy of the government itself, the small number of people who via various methods like to seek their own ends to the detriment of millions.
It is rather like when I say I’m anti-EU, but love Europe. Just because I’d like to see the state fail (the EU) doesn’t make me an enemy of half a billion people.
If US foreign policy is harmed, it harms the interests of her citizens. Your analogy of the possible break-up of the EU is a false one, different thing entirely.
In any case, none of what you’ve said is relevant to whether or not Katie Connolly should have mentioned Assange’s own claims that his previous “work” in Kenya led directly to the loss of life, and that he readily accepted these as necessary deaths, in her article which asks specifically whether or not this kind of thing might cause deaths and what Assange’s intentions are.
Whether or not you think he’s a hero, the BBC has censored Assange’s own statements regarding his intentions and opinions on when his work costs lives. Do you support the BBC’s censorship here?
‘If US foreign policy is harmed, it harms the interests of her citizens.’
Well…that’s not true, is it? It harms the interests of the people who perpetuate such a policy. Whether or not it harms citizens is another question entirely. A does not automatically lead to B here.
I don’t care if the BBC sees fit to censor stuff or not – I’d rather it didn’t exist or, more specifically, that it isn’t publicly funded. Yes, that’s right, I’m an enemy of the UK state’s media arm.
The problem is that I don’t think this is an instance of bias from the BBC. At the most it’s an oversight. Personally I think it’s sour grapes on your part that the BBC isn’t positing your particular political viewpoint, and therefore it must be censorship. Most likely, they’re just being biased.
Get what I mean?
That should read, ‘I don’t think this is an instance of CENSORSHIP’ not ‘bias’.
My political viewpoint is irrelevant. Assange has made statements which are relevant to the point of the article, and should have been included. This information is necessary for the reader to get the full picture. It’s not my political view that Assange claimed that his work cost lives in Kenya: it’s a fact that he has done so. It’s not my political view that Assange wants to restrict US diplomatic efforts: it’s a fact that he has stated this as his goal.
The BBC has censored these facts.
I suppose you could say that it’s sour grapes that I’m upset that the BBC has given full voice to the idea that Assange is a hero and gives precious little air time to anyone saying that he might be in the wrong. But then that would mean that the BBC’s balance on the story is way off, regardless of which side one is on. They should not be taking sides, but they are.
I’m not going to disagree with you that they shouldn’t be taking sides – but they are still a media organisation. This story has many miles in it yet. And besides, the BBC has been quite happy to lead with stories of condemnation…until the leaks got more juicy, of course.
Julian Assange, info terrorist or modern hero?
We really need to see the inner workings of ‘government’, we really need to see what is being done in our name.
For far too long a few people have been deciding and enacting policy in secret, backroom dealing and back scratching and quid pro quo dealing.
We have been left out and kept in the dark.
Now you may not like Assange, his politics and his morals but I believe he has done real democrats everywhere the mother of all favours and it will take a while for it to become clear.
We the people have left the business of govenment to government and allowed them to deal on our behalf using the excuse of national security and look where it has got us!
We have a ruling class so used to a hermetically sealed off bubble environment where they deal with each other in secret, this has led to them doing deals that help and assist them to promote ideals and ideas that have nothing to do with our interests.
I may not like Assange, in fact I do not like him BUT in the end he is the dose of ‘info laxative’ that the body politic so desperately needs. I dont trust the governing class any more, I wouldnt trust them as far as I could throw John Prescott.
Its high time some light was shed on the political classes love of secret dealing, it may well have some negative side effects in the short term but the situation has become so bad that only fresh air and daylight will ever disinfect the sewer we call modern international politics. He lifts the lid and its upto us to pour in the disinfectant.
The political class know all this and are going after Assange with all the big guns at their disposal, big guns that if we dont spike now will be increasingly turned on us next. I have great respect for many of the posters here as you know but in this respect I know in my gut I am right.
I suspect that if Assange had distributed many of the BBC confidential documents that they fight legal tooth and nail to keep secret the attitude of many posters here would change 180°.
Still it must be asked is the world a safer place by undermining diplomatic confidentiality? I doubt it. Overall, America are still the good guys and the bad guys still plot in secret, or even greater secret thanks to WikiLeaks.
Is the world made a safer place by doing the terrorists homework for them?
Cassandra, We know what our ruling class is up to! To take a few examples, we know what the EU is up to; what the BBC is up to; what climate warming fanatics, scam mongers and greedy and corrupt governments are up to with their green money and tax grabs; what Labour government immigration policy has been up to over the last number of years; what foreign “students”, foreign criminals, bogus refugees have been up to; what MPs have been /are up to; what benefit scroungers have been up to; what Islamist supremacists, nutters and Sharia advocates are up to; what Prince Charles, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Ken Livingstone, Universities, numerous quangos, teachers, the food industry, hospitals, colleges, the Guardian…the list is endless.
How has knowing about any of the above made a blind bit of difference?
There is more to the question of these leaks than the simple matter of knowing. There is motive and harm and all sorts of consequences and ramifications. Everything has to be weighed and balanced and not viewed simply as a matter of absolute wrong to hide things and absolute right to disclose things. It’s not something trivial that should be at the mercy of one man’s overwhelming egomania. You can tell that his actions aren’t about goodness and rightness when you reflect on the fact of his chosen main target and the fact that it has been streets ahead in disclosure and openness and all sorts of other good things compared with most others whom he could have targeted.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post and you make some good points.
The government has become addicted to secrecy and secret dealings which enable it to make arrangements and deals with some of the worlds worst scum bags.
Using the pretext of expediency and national security the governments of the West engage in the behaviour.
The corrupt UN and corrupted governments are destroying our way of life, they are out of control and Assange like him or not has lifted the lid on the sewer.
Cassandra, Assange has the stated goal of harming the US. The documents he’s released do that, but do nothing toward the otherwise laudable goal of exposing the UN for what it is.
Interesting points all round, but as Cassandra invokes gut reaction I will too. Ken Loach, John Pilger and Jemima Khan all joining forces to put up bail – my guts are telling me something ain’t right on that side of the aisle.
Exactly. I was ambivalent about it all, having appreciated the revelations which cast a different light on Israel’s position vis-à-vis Iran. But now Loach and Pilger have poked their noses in, I’m out.
I do confess to having mixed feelings on the whole thing, one being I don’t feel very affected by it all. That may change as things work they way through.
However, while I am all for more open government to ethical standards, I am pragmatic enough to realise it is an impossible ideal. Hence the fact that these revelations seem damned at the very least by being unilateral.
I would be more than interested in the juicy stuff zipping about between Russian, Chinese or other two faced entities.
Funnily enough, the US intercepts have given us a taster, and the highlighting of the Middle Eastern hypocrisy has been a true joy, if oddly played down in many quarters.
And that is what has really knocked the whole thing offside for me.
For all the talk of freedom of information, we are getting triple-filtered data at best, after Jules, the Graun and then Aunty’s finest events interpreters have all spun their magic, on both content and timing of release.
Which means the agenda is well and truly skewed (that’s ‘skewed’, you BBC NaughtieMarrs).
And now Mr. Assange is threatening to go scorched earth and take all, including innocents, down with him, having claimed he would not, suggests a rather flawed character at best, and foolish faith by those who still consider him anything more than a nihilist.
Let’s face it eh? If a PFC can get hold of this stuff “in clear” then then some brass hat ass should be kicked.
As a previous commenter said – the dose of ‘info laxative’ that the body politic so desperately needs. Having the veils of diplomatic hypocrisy shoved aside briefly is a purgative that is long overdue.
The Bank revelations to come are I hope spring loaded booby traps which will go off even if the nihilistic antiodean gets taken out.
I find the contrast between Al Habibi-see’s coverage of this whistleblowing and their treatment of NHS and other UK establishment whistleblowers jarring to say the least.
How many BBC whistleblowers have been silenced with cash or legal intimidation?
The joy at watching diplomacy get tripped up over “transparency” is worrying. It’s one thing to believe that we need to know more about what goes on, but it’s quite another to then permanently handcuff diplomacy.
Assange has written essays explaining his goals in this regard:
“To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed,” he writes. “Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate,” he writes, and “pass it around the conspirators and then act on the result.”
Assange doesn’t merely want you to know what’s going on, he wants it stopped altogether. There is a huge difference between what’s being portrayed in the media – and by some here – and what his actual goals are.
“We can marginalize a conspiracy’s ability to act by decreasing total conspiratorial power until it is no longer able to understand, and hence respond effectively to its environment. . . . An authoritarian conspiracy that cannot think efficiently cannot act to preserve itself.”
Very flowery language, sounds good, no? It isn’t. This is one step away from good old-fashioned 19th Centure Russian nihilism. Assange doesn’t want to open up: he wants to destroy.
The BBC won’t tell you that, censors his own words to that end in news reports, and actually portrays him as a hero with laudable goals.
“WikiLeaks has gone too far with terrorists’ hit list”
(by Robert Fox)
Read more: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/72460,news-comment,news-politics,wikileaks-has-gone-too-far-with-its-terrorists-itinerary-us-embassy-cables#ixzz17RBdUiFv
Why are you letting someone else’s stance or actions on a matter influence your own? Whether it be the BBC or ken loach?! Any idea how stupid and insecure that makes you seem? JFC…
Whom are you calling stupid and insecure here? What do you mean by letting someone else’s stance influence one’s own?
He/she might have meant my remark above.
I must stop making fatuous comments; what I meant was that although I appreciated the ‘helpful’ leaks that confirmed certain suspicions, we can’t have unlimited transparency, which would obviously undermine the running of governments, or security in general.
There are limits, and who’s to decide what they are? That was my ambivolence.
Sitting on the fence was okay till Ken Loach and John Pilger came along and shoved me off. That’s because they both campaign against Israel in a particularly disingenuous manner. If I seem stupid and insecure, so be it. What’s so wrong with that? Stupidity isn’t quite so good, but insecurity visits us all, and why not?
Via Peter Risdon, Assange’s old blog which, with delicious irony, he deleted – presumably in the hope that it wouldn’t be seen again. If you’ve ever read anything more pretentious I feel sorry for you.