Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sex and State Secrets?  You don't have to like Julian Assange to get the feeling that his current legal jeopardy in not wholly unconnected to his current endeavor.

I don't know what to make of the guy.  However the leaks reached him, is he any more culpable than, say, the NYT when they published the Pentagon Papers?  That's a hard argument to make.  And while a military employee might be guilty of espionage or treason for leaking the stuff to him, it's hard to make the case that Assange carries the same burden, being in many ways simply a journalist.  An activist journalist, to be sure -- but again, the Times's decisions to publish some leaks and not others were not made in a moral or political vacuum.

All that said, Assange does come across as a bit of a dick -- e.g., sleeping with some starf*cker "activist" cutie and then asking her to buy his train tickets because he has no cash and doesn't want the Americans tracking his credit card usage.  Can't you just hear him playing it up to her?  "Make love to me again, darling, for I will remember you, even as dark forces gather to take my life.  I am but a pawn in this larger game.  Oooh, and buy me this copy of Time.  I'm on the cover."

But it's hard to prosecute a guy for being a dick, as much as two women may regret their assignations with him after finding out he was not exactly monogamous.  (Young, handsome, subject of world's attention, focal point of rage among the establishment, cult hero to the professional left -- and you think he's not getting ass like Mick Jagger circa 1968?)

Look, I get why this is a problem and an embarrassment for the goverment, the military, the country.  But their whining hardly sounds different from that of the two ladies making the sexual complaints against him.  Or, more accurately, the U.S. goverment sounds like a 15-year-old girl who texted a snapshot of her tits to her boyfriend, then found it on the web later in the week.  Welcome to the new world.


Flyer said...

I can't decide what I think of this case but I'm pretty sure the U.S. govt. won't be able to do much about Assange. Their best hope is the hanky-panky charges bankrupt him and the void isn't immediately filled by another dick with an axe to grind.

On the larger question of protecting state secrets I've seen various arguments that too much of the federal government's paperwork is over-classified and that what Assange has released ought to be public anyway. Since I'm naturally distrustful of the Foggy Bottom cookie pushers I can get on board with that idea, but I'm still not comfortable with Gomer Pyle taking the initiative to release whatever he can get his hands on and someone will pay for. The left, particularly now that the bloom is off Obama's rose, will explode if the Justice Dept. goes full bore after Private Whatshisname, but it needs to happen anyway. If dissent is the highest form of patriotism then make the kid a bloody hero to the No Nukes crowd and move on. No way to win this fight pretty, just try to do it quickly.

On another note, I haven't pored through the 10,000 leaked documents (ok, I haven't glanced in their damn direction, ya happy?) but I haven't heard of anything particularly nefarious coming out in the wash. The conspiracy theorists have to be a touch disappointed, no?

Razor Milkshake said...

If only there was someone who could get to the bottom of the Assange arrest. Someone who could get access to the secret indictment papers and then publish them for all the world to see so that we could make up our own mind...