The Guardian is brutal on Julian Assange’s new talk show:
The most insidious aspect of Assange’s show is not what is in it, but what isn’t. Russia Today – now styled RT – is state-owned and Kremlin-controlled. It is remarkable for how little reporting it devotes to what is going on inside Russia today. There is no mention, for example, of top-level corruption, Vladimir Putin’s alleged secret fortune – referenced in US embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks – or the brutal behaviour of Russian security forces and their local proxies in the north Caucasus.
Instead, the channel offers a shiny updated version of Soviet propaganda. The west, and America in particular, is depicted as crime-ridden, failing, and in thrall to big business and evil elites. RT’s favourite theme is western hypocrisy: “How dare you criticise us when you do the same?” The English-language channel portrays itself as “anti-mainstream”. In reality it reflects Putin’s own conspiratorial, touchy and xenophobic world-view while staying mute about Russia’s own failings. [...]
US cables released by WikiLeaks in December 2010 paint a dismal picture of Putin’s Russia as a “virtual mafia state”. Has Assange read them? It seems extraordinary that Assange – described by RT as the world’s most famous whistleblower – should team up with an opaque regime where investigative journalists are shot dead (16 unsolved murders) and human rights activists kidnapped and executed, especially in Chechnya and other southern Muslim republics. Strange and obscene.
This really is just about the final nail in the coffin. Assange is a self-styled opponent of empire and hegemony, and oppressive government, who sees no problem going into business with one of the most anti-democratic regimes going. But he’s got a public profile to keep up, for pete’s sake!
Admittedly, I find it tedious when people turn themselves into one-man crusades against censorship. Jello Biafra never cut a good record after he became obsessed with fighting free speech battles, to name an example. After a certain point, it gets impossible to tell where the serious concern about issues ends, and where the martyrdom and self-aggrandizement begins. To be fair, Assange had to negotiate forces much more powerful than the former Dead Kennedys frontman ever did. But while there might initially have been some tinge of idealism in what he did, I don’t think the endpoints were that different. In any event, it seems clear at this point that Assange’s anarchist tendencies were just posturing.
The damage caused by the WikiLeaks controversy has caused little real and lasting damage to American diplomacy, senior state department officials have concluded. It emerged in private briefings to Congress by top diplomats that the fallout from the release of thousands of private diplomatic cables from all over the globe has not been especially bad. This is in direct opposition to the official stance of the White House and the US government which has been vocal in condemning the whistle-blowing organisation and seeking to bring its founder, Julian Assange, to trial in the US.Oops. You have one guess as to where we learned this news from:
LONDON – Wikileaks has been accused of endangering lives after destroying an Afghan village with an unmanned drone. Leading secret experts have determined that the attack by the online whistleblower was the most devastating since it killed tens of thousands of Iraqis in search of weapons of mass destruction that it secretly knew were all made up. The slaughter came just hours after the website, popular with paedophiles and smokers, published 250,000 secret documents that revealed, for only the 78 millionth time in human history, that governments are run by the sort of utter tosspots you wouldn’t have in your house. Former foreign secretary, Sir Malcom Rifkind, said: “I used to go to secret meetings with generals and ambassadors and people with codenames. Sometimes I would use a codename, but it really depended on how many other people in the meeting were using their codenames. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what my codename was because if I did I would be putting lives at risk in Norway and Burkina Faso. “Anyway, we talked about vitally important things that need not concern your decent hard-working little head. Suffice to say we are extremely clever and the things we do are so breath-takingly important that we have to keep them a secret or someone with a codename will be strangled by a man in a turban. Jafaz Al Jalali, a trainee suicide bomber from Rawalpindi, backed Sir Malcolm, adding: “I was going to blow myself up purely because of your mini-kilts and your Bacardi Breezers but now I know that Prince Andrew may have behaved inappropriately on some junket I have decided to blow myself up twice.” Julian Cook, professor of international news stories at Reading University, explained: “Everyone that America has been spying on would have already assumed that America was spying on them and if they didn’t then they are even more cretinous than these leaks confirm them to be.” He added: “Nevertheless, the point about Wikileaks undermining the safety of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan would have some validity, if only it wasn’t such a humongous vat of liquidised monkey-shit from start to finish. “Because – and you might want to write this down and keep it somewhere safe – the key thing that has undermined the safety of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is firing their big fucking guns at Iraqis and Afghans. Sources at the Ministry of Defence confirmed that Professor Cook’s comments had already put lives at risk in Belgium and Ecuador, and informed us that he’s also a rapist.
I guess we just swept it all up under the rug. The past is in the past, right?
I guess not:
A grim picture of the US and Britain’s legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.It should be pointed out that the paper that had the balls to call what happened to detainees “torture” is the Guardian in the UK. The NY Times? You guessed it: “detainee abuse“.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. [...]
The new logs detail how:
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee’s apparent death.
- US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
- A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
- More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
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