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    Julian Assange Lost Big Time. Look Out, Australia!

    WHEN asked to explain why he was running for a seat in the Australian Senate while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Julian Assange quoted Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” 
    Plato was “a bit of a fascist,” he said, but had a point.
    Imagine the chagrin Mr. Assange must feel now, given that not only did he fail to win a place in the Senate in the recent election, but he was less successful than Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Mr. Muir, who won just 0.5 percent of the vote, is most famous for having posted a video on YouTube of himself having a kangaroo feces fight with friends. 
    It's no secret that I'm not a Julian Assange fan, and if I were an Australian I surely would have worked insanely hard to keep him from winning, but given my track record for not voting for people I think are such huge jokes there's no chance of them EVER getting elected, only to see them WIN (See Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Rick Snyder, town council member Buzz (Buzzy) Lightfoot), I wouldn't have been surprised if that big-headed Wikileaks blowhard had actually won.
    I don't know Australian politics, of course, but if they're anything like us they have their own Bachmanns and Pauls and the aforementioned Reagans and Bushes.  Nobody is immune from political nutiness.  
    But I bring this up here because I really, seriously want to go on record as being able to write the following:
    Julian Assange lost a senate race in Victoria, Australia, coming in so embarrassingly low even his most loyal backers at The Guardian will have a hard time coming up with some lame-assed excuse having to do with secret government dealings, or world-wide intervention, or even Swedish prisses--whatever excuse there might be for causing the little mighty-might to fall.

    And also. . .I really need to add this "spoof video", courtesy of Assange's lead defender, The Guardian (or, as they like to be known, the guardian), where the serious candidate for senate in Victoria, Australia, dons a mullet wig and lip synchs about why he has to go after those bastards in Australia.



    It might be a good time to note here, too,  that Assange, running for office in Australia, is in London (that's in England) where he's being protected by the Ecuadorian government (that's in Central America) from the Swedish government (that's in Sweden), where he's wanted for questioning about some kind of trumped-up sex scandal designed just to embarrass the poor guy and take away his dignity and his livelihood.

    Photo here because the guardian will no doubt take down the video, now that their guy Assange LOST.


    But to add insult to injury (is that possible with Julian Assange?) the Ecuadorians didn't quite get how fun this was.  They told Assange to stop making fun of Australian politicians while he's enjoying their hospitality.

    Tensions between Assange and his Ecuadorean hosts were heightened during the Snowden affair, with diplomats saying that they felt that the WikiLeaks founder was trying to steal the limelight.
    According to Agence France-Presse, Correa said: "The rules of asylum in principle forbid meddling in the politics of the country that grants asylum. But as a matter of courtesy, we are not going to bar Julian Assange from exercising his right to be a candidate. Just so long as he doesn't make fun of Australian politicians or people."
    And to make matters even worse, Julian's Wikileaks running mate, Ethicist Leslie Cannold, originally so in touch with Assange she felt she had to write about why she, a feminist, would be running alongside him, resigned, along with six other Wikileaks members.  If Julian, for some reason (Sweden) couldn't fulfill his duties when (not if) he was elected, Leslie would have taken his place.  But it seems there was some secret hanky panky going on at Wikileak party headquarters (yes, I said secret), that went something like this:
    In the resignation statement on Wednesday, Ms Cannold hit out at the failure to lodge Senate preference forms in WA and NSW in line with the National Council's instructions.
    She said despite resistance, party members who wanted the problem reviewed prevailed.
    But those who fought for the review ‘‘felt tired and disillusioned’’ and were then hit with a ‘‘bombshell’’.
    ‘‘A member of the party rang two key volunteers in succession and requested that they join with him in going outside the party's formal structures,’’ Ms Cannold said.
    ‘‘In these phone calls, the Council was denigrated and a proposal made to each volunteer in succession that they join with select candidates and Council members in taking direction from other than the National Council.
    ‘‘The consequence of the proposal was that the National Council and two of the campaign coordinators - also National Council members who have been actively involved in pushing for the preference review - would be bypassed.’’
    She said a campaign staffer also received a phone call that contradicted the public statement issued by the WikiLeaks Party on Wednesday that the review of preferences would be immediate and independent.
    Instead, the review would be delayed until after the election and would not be independent, Ms Cannold said.
    ‘‘This is the final straw,’’ she said.
    ‘‘As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was willing to stay on and fight for it. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party's own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore.
    ‘‘This is an unacceptable mode of operation for any organisation but even more so for an organisation explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability.’’

    So now Julian Assange has LOST his bid for a senate seat in Victoria.  I predict Australia won't be hearing the last of him.  In fact, if I were you, Australia, I would be locking up the goodies and throwing away the keys.  If you know what I mean.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)




    The Guardian and Assange have had nothing to do with each other at least since The Guardian published WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy in early 2011.

    WL Central, an "endorsed Wikileaks resource," claims here that here that The Guardian started being an Assange enemy many months earlier.

    Well sure, when it comes to the issues involved, as their sympathies are very much along civil libertarian lines. (After all, they covered the Manning case heavily and sympathetically, hired Greenwald since then & Snowden went to them since them.)

    But Assange is no longer "their guy," it's very much the opposite case.

    He dislikes and distrust them and they basically think he's a crazy egomaniac and publish whatever personal stuff they can find about him that verifies that.

    It's not only the book that caused the break up; they published the leaked docs about him from the Swedish case, he was very angry about that, too. Lots of acrimony there.

    So the dedicated leaker doesn't appreciate leaks.  That whole "shoe is on the other foot" thing sucks.

    A couple of points/questions:

    1. Australian Senate candidates have running mates?
    2. It might be a good time to note here, too, that Assange, running for office in Australia, is in London (that's in England) where he's being protected by the Ecuadorian government (that's in Central America) from the Swedish government (that's in Sweden), where he's wanted for questioning about some kind of trumped-up sex scandal designed just to embarrass the poor guy and take away his dignity and his livelihood.
      I think the US also has an interest in him. laugh

    You're right.  Dumb me!  I have a tendency to use the Rule of Threes.  That's my excuse, anyway. smiley

    In one news source they called her his "running mate", but it's more like an alternate, in case he can't serve.

    I really have trouble with this guy; I get losted as we used to say.

    And it just is not fair to him for me to label him a child predator. I just have no facts to back up these allegations.

    The real people on this planet have always been kept away from the facts about what the ruling classes are doing.

    Nobody told me that IBM was doing wonderful business in Germany during the thirties and forties!

    The masters of war made billions during WWII working for both sides for chrissakes.

    So this guy comes along and just vomits all these 'facts' onto the 'public' and governments all over the world react:


    Is full disclosure always a good thing?


    I do feel that we might receive more information from Assange than Tom Friedman for instance who is at this moment pontificating about stuff he knows nothing about.



    I think it's Assange's huge ego that bugs me the most.  That, and his God complex.  And a few dozen other things. 

    Otherwise, I really don't trust him.

    Smells too much like schadenfreude. I don't dispute that Assange is a major prick, but politics is full of major pricks. In fact, the whole Australian election was a major battle between two major pricks, and I don't see how you celebrate Assange's loss without even mentioning Abbott, a major conservative prick who now has far more power and influence than Assange could ever dream of. It's like writing a celebratory blog post about Ralph Nader's defeat in 2000 that fails to mention George W. Bush.

    More to the point, I don't see how Assange's loss is politically important or even desirable. Indeed, I would argue that we need major pricks like Assange to shout at us from the left, if only to challenge us to question what we take for granted. "Gadfly" might be a kinder term.

    More cheap shots from the peanut gallery, brought to you by those who will never produce anything of value and never ever have the courage to stand alone and face the wrath of the powerful. 

    Tell us about what it is you do Peter.   Perhaps you can help some  of us move out of the gallery.  Penny for your elaboration.   

    Thank you for this valuable lesson on courage, Peter (not verified), but if I'm in Assange's peanut gallery, and you're in my peanut gallery, then it sure looks like you're in the peanut gallery's peanut gallery.

    I could be wrong, Michael, but I think Peter was talking about me.  sad

    Perhaps. The transitive property of peanut galleries still applies.

    I see his loss as very politically important.  It tells me--and it should tell him--that not everybody loves him as much as he loves himself, not even in his own country. 

    I don't see anything redeeming about Julian Assange and with each event he shows himself for the hypocritical fraud he really is.

    I know very little about Australian politics, but I'm pretty sure I don't need to for this piece, which is almost totally about Julian Assange.  If there is someone there who is worse than Assange, well, that's politics.  That's Australia's problem.  Assange has made himself our problem, and that's what I react to.

    He's more than a major prick, and he's definitely more than a "gadfly".  He plays games with the information he has, taunting us with it, goading us, and I see that as irresponsible and childish.  If you want to see him as something else, you're entitled.

    I disagree that he's a fraud or that his electoral defeat defrauded him. But even if he were, and it did, so what? In a world full of frauds, why is it so important that Assange in particular be defrauded.

    As for what I think his value is, I don't believe that information should be as public as he says it should be, but I believe it's very important that we think hard about what information should be public and why. Assange and a few others challenged us to confront that question in a way that we had not, not recently anyway.

    but I believe it's very important that we think hard about what information should be public and why. Assange and a few others challenged us to confront that question in a way that we had not, not recently anyway.

    Well, yes, of course.  There's no question that something good came out of what I still believe were egregious actions by all three of them--Bradley/Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.  But to cut Assange so much slack because you're happy with what he released, not knowing what else he has up his sleeve or what kind of damage his recklessness could precipitate seems to me somehow--reckless.

    How long do you go on ignoring his subsequent actions because you're so grateful for what he grabbed and exposed early on?  We still really don't know enough about what he has and what he's going to do with it to relax and just go with it, trusting him to do what's right.  There is no evidence that I've seen that Assange understands the meaning of caution.  He lives to shock, to offend, to grandstand, to bask in the limelight.

    When his own people are leaving in droves because they cannot count on him to be honest and transparent, I'm having a hard time being convinced that I should trust him, either.  And since he still holds in his possession hundreds of thousands of our country's secrets, I'm rightfully nervous about his motives.

    Up his sleeve? How much damage has he really done in the grand scheme, and what leads you to conclude that he will do so much more. Because he likes to shock people? This sounds very vague and speculative.

    I'm certainly not asking you to trust Julian Assange, let alone support him. I just don't see why it's so wonderful and important that a very unpopular guy who cannot leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London got trounced in an election in Victoria, Australia.

    Unpopular?  Very unpopular?  Assange still has plenty of supporters, from what I can see.  Many of them are probably right here on dag. 

    But come on now--he can't leave the embassy?  He's not being held captive; this is his choice.  Yes, he'll have to answer to Sweden for accusations that have nothing to do with the theft of state secrets, and possibly to us for accusations that have everything to do with it, but in the long run there's probably no escaping either.  Staying in the embassy is just prolonging the inevitable.

    And what makes all this so wonderful to me is that he got trounced.  He didn't just lose, he got trounced.  Silly satisfaction, I know, but there it is.

    But why? Why do you take such "satisfaction" in his election loss? I don't understand the hostility.

    Why do you think this is odd?  I don't understand.  Isn't it natural to be just a little gleeful when someone you don't like loses an election?  Even someone who doesn't live in your neighborhood or even in your country?  Funny, I don't feel hostile at all.  In fact, I feel pretty happy.

    OK, let's use the word "dislike" then. Why do you dislike Assange enough to write a gleeful--indeed I would say gloating--post about his defeat in an obscure Australian election? Or to put in another way, why do you have such a big beef with the guy? A bigger beef, it would seem, than you have with the new Prime Minister of Australia whose political positions are probably further from yours than Assange's. And unlike Assange, he's actually in a position to carry them out.

    Sorry to be annoying, but it seems like you're dodging the question. And I think it's an important one.

    So what you're trying to get me to admit is that I don't know a damn thing about Australian politics so I should just shut up.  It's true--I don't know a damn thing about Australian politics, but I wrote a blog post today about Julian Assange, a character I do know something about.  I think I've made it pretty clear in this post why I "dislike" Assange.  The "why" is in there. 

    You're right.  I'm gloating.  I think Julian Assange is reckless and dangerous.  I'm thrilled that this particular position of power has been taken away from him.  I hope he's never in a position to make any more decisions affecting people's lives.

    Is that good enough or will there be more to this quiz?

    There you go again Ramona. You do know something about Australian politics.

    You know that a YouTube of a kangaroo feces fight might get more attention and voter support Down Under than a dump of half a million boring government documents...!

    Right.  Or it could be that a dump of half a million government documents into the hands of a zany megalomaniac scares the hell out of those people, too.

    (Those two videos--the ones of the mulleted Assange and his opponent's fecal proclivities didn't hurt in making the decision to write about the Aussie election.  It was pretty hard to pass up after that.)

    I guess that I'm not making myself clear. It's not a test. I genuinely do not understand why you dislike Julian Assange so much, and you absolutely have not made it clear in this post, at least not to me. I just re-read it, and I still don't get it. I mean, I get why he's not your BFF, but I don't get why you've singled him out to gloat about as if he were some ultra-evil blond supervillain.

    PS I mentioned Abbott only as a contrast because he seems much more significant and detestable than Assange.

    And I genuinely do not understand why you still have a problem with my dislike for Assange.  I see him as an out-of-control megalomaniac who is still holding hundreds of thousands of our country's documents hostage until he and only he decides what to do with them.  That scenario scares me. 

    If you see him as someone who has saved us from ourselves and will go on doing it if we'll just let him, I won't question your decision to believe that.  I don't have to believe it, and I probably won't stop "picking on the poor guy".  Not until the power he holds has been taken away from him.  I'm glad to hear that other Wikileaks leaders are having doubts about him, too.  It tells me that my instincts about him right from the beginning were not all wrong.

    But I've said all this before, many times, so if you don't understand it by now I can't help you.  Sorry.

    Because I think you're exaggerating the threat he actually poses. And when I asked you to justify your assessment of that threat, I received a very vague, very speculative answer. You have no idea what documents he has, what he plans to do with them, or what impact their release would have on the country--any more than I do. All of which is irrelevant to a parliamentary election in Australia that will have no impact whatsoever on the threat from Wikileaks' document repository. I do apologize for probing, but to be honest, your answer was so unsatisfying that it seemed like there must be something more behind your animus, and I was curious what it was.

    You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but it seems to me that if you publish a post that takes a strong controversial stance--as this one does--then I am well within bounds to challenge your position without drawing your resentment. I'm not some Assange-worshipper who is blind to the man's megalomania, and I do not endorse his behavior. I struggle to decide how I feel about Wikileaks and would in fact be happy to hear a persuasive explanation for why it was so great that Assange lost his election. But uncharacteristically, I sense that you have little interest in persuading me of anything in this case.

    Sorry about the confusion about my "peanut  gallery" comment Michael, it wasn't aimed at you. It does tie in with your question about why some people have such a visceral reaction to whistleblowers and the fact they become celebrities. It seems to have something to do with how people view authority, some submit to it and some resist it. Those who submit to authority must attack and discredit anyone who " egregiously" attacks authority like Assange or Snowden because they represent chaos.   Our celebrity culture here in the US seems to play a role in this also, there is nothing so satisfying to some than to see a celebrity stumble and fail. 

    Sorry, I was traveling today and just got back to my laptop.

    Just as you think I'm exaggerating his threat, I think you're underestimating it.  You don't know what he still has, either, yet you're willing to trust him with it.  Why?  What has he said or done that would give you the impression that he'll be judicious with the materials he still has access to?  I don't see it.

    I think it's important that he lost this election, if for no other reason than he'll have to stop and think about how the world--and especially his own countrymen--view what he is doing. 

    What if he had won?  How would he have handled it?  My guess--and yes, it's only a guess, based on what I've seen from him in the past--is that there would have been no end to his feeling of self-importance.  He wants to be somebody, even to the point of running for a senate seat he had to know from the start he would never be able to fill.  It was a game with him, just as everything he does is a game.  The outcome is not nearly as important to him as the actual game.  He gets to be in charge;  he gets to set the rules. 

    Why do you think he ran for a senate seat in Victoria when he's an international figure with other, bigger fish to fry?  I can't know his motives for sure, but I'm willing to bet a sense of service or a feeling of altruism had nothing to do with it.

    He hides out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London but instead of getting serious about his role as a leader he dons a mullet wig and makes a stupid video he knows will go viral on YouTube.  Did he think it would draw serious voters?  Of course not.  It was an attention-getter and nothing more.  Do you think he seriously cares that he lost that election?  Only because it makes him look weak for the moment.  But not because he thought he could do some good for his people and now he won't be able to. 

    Would he like his new Wikileaks Party to gain seats and make laws?  Sure.  In the same way the Tea Party does.  Because they can and because they hate the government.

    So I'm glad he lost, and in such an embarrassing way.  He didn't deserve to win.  And if you think that's gloating, well you would be right.  And if you still don't get it, I'm sorry.  That's the best I can do.  Honestly. 


    Just as you think I'm exaggerating his threat, I think you're underestimating it.

    I think it's important that he lost this election, if for no other reason than he'll have to stop and think about how the world--and especially his own countrymen--view what he is doing.

    It is our own countrymen who are in the hardest position from which to view what he has revealed because so much of it reflects badly on our own government.

     I find that the personal characteristics of Assange have little if anything to do with my judgment of the value his revelations, either past or future. I can easily ignore his personality and I tend to think that much of the substance of attacks on him are deliberately overblown out of spite and emphasized by a knee-jerk tendency of some/many to apologize for most anything done by our government on the international scene and to attack anyone who attacks our government regardless the legitimacy of the attack.  That is not a completely consistent position on my part as I realize that I have great sympathy for the whistle blower once known as Bradley Manning and that that sympathy brings about sometimes angry feelings towards those who attack him personally in order to discredit his actions and to justify his subsequent torture and finally his [IMO] un justifiably harsh sentence.  
     Below I link to Tom Engelhard's opinion piece. It is "opinion" but it is supported by a great deal of reporting. I suspect that being 'opinion' intending to sway or reinforce the opinion of others accounts for his not overtly including Assange among his examples of the good he sees as having been done by Manning, Snowden, and other whistle blowers, and the necessary good he predicts coming from future whistle blowers. Because Assange' character has been successfully demonized in the view of so many, rightfully or wrongfully, Engelhard's thesis would be dismissed out of hand by many of those who would otherwise consider what he has to say in support of whistle blowing in principle if he were to include Assange as an example of someone who, for whatever reason, did something ultimately beneficial to us all.  Whistle blowing is, after all, the pertinent subject, the important subject, that swirls around Assange.


    Where does trust come into it? I just don't think that wikileaks revelations over the past 7 years have been all that catastrophic. So without evidence to the contrary, I see no reason to expect any great calamity in the future. That said, I didn't write a blog post cheering wikileaks and don't intend to, so the burden isn't really on me to defend the organization.

    I do genuinely appreciate your effort to explain why Assange's loss is important, but it still makes no sense to me. If he's a megalomaniac, why would this election make him any less likely to release the dangerous documents you fear? If anything, wouldn't it have the opposite effect, since it leaves no other way to get attention?

    Will you be writing a review of The Fifth Estate, a biopic of Assange, that will be released next month? This interview with the actor who plays Assange, Benedict Cumberbatch, is interesting. Assange did not want the movie made and refused to meet with the actor but did send him a five-page e-mail just before filming started. Like I said, an interesting interview. FWIW, if I do watch the movie, it will be because of the actor, not the topic. His Sherlock is the best. ;D


    Off topic, re: Benedict Cumberbatch

    Watch Parade's End (derived from Ford Madox Ford's WWI novel) if you ever have the chance. He is the lead in it. I basically watched it twice when it was on HBO, and I don't often do that. Wished there had been more than 5 episodes. Judging from your expressed tastes in the past, I think you will like it as much as I did.

    Thanks, I will try Parade's End since you recommend. I probably would not otherwise. Netflix has helped me figure out why I have never been that into basic relationship movies and television shows. I prefer to watch people doing something alone or together with relationships as subplots.


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