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Wikileaks' Julian Assange: When the leader becomes the story

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is quickly becoming as much a part of the news as the headlines his organization is producing. The Australian leader of Wikileaks, which recently made news again after releasing hundreds of thousands of documents regarding the Iraq war, has come under fire both for personal issues--he faces charges of rape and sexual molestation--and for reported conflicts within his organization. His refusal to talk about both matters during a CNN interview he walked out of has only done more to make Assange almost as much a headline as the Iraq war logs news itself.

Like many organizational leaders, Assange is the face of Wikileaks, talking up the group's discoveries and taking much of the heat for releasing documents the Pentagon says puts at risk the lives of Iraqis and, previously, Afghans. He has been a frequent media presence, standing in the spotlight as the secretive organization's well-orchestrated revelations trickle out.

But all that media glare can backfire, too. When leaders become as much--or more--of the story than the results of the organization they lead, they are in danger of casting too long a shadow and may need to consider stepping aside.

Whether he would do just that is just one question reporter Atika Shubert asked Assange in the interview being taped for CNN before he departed the set. Reports have surfaced that there is a war within WikiLeaks itself, with approximately a dozen staffers and volunteers leaving after saying other exposes have been ignored at the expense of Assange's overwhelming attention on the U.S. military.

Internal turmoil has paralyzed the site, which has spun "out of control, still too driven by the personality and ego of its mercurial founder, Julian Assange," critics told the Post. In a profile in the New York Times Saturday, Assange is called WikiLeaks' "prime innovator and charismatic force" but "someone whose growing celebrity has been matched by an increasingly dictatorial, eccentric and capricious style."

Meanwhile, Assange is also in legal crosshairs in Sweden after prosecutors there reopened a rape investigation and decided that a sexual molestation complaint involving Assange should be investigated. He has denied the accusations and said the complaints are a smear campaign by the Pentagon.

By walking out on the CNN interview with Ms. Shubert, he promises to bring even greater attention to himself rather than the Iraq war documents to which his organization is trying to bring so much attention. Even if questions about his personal life weren't germane to the interview (and given his accusations against the U.S. government, they are), Ms. Shubert's questions about whether or not he is eclipsing the Wikileaks revelations were fair. A leader's job is to promote and defend the organization's work, yes. But that is best done behind the scenes rather than by making one themselves.

By Jena McGregor

 |  October 25, 2010; 8:03 AM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Foreign Affairs , Leadership advice Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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A diagnosis of a serious cancer is only slightly worse than being charged with rape and/or murder. No wunderkind, which Mr. Assange is, can long survive that for which no human can prepare. Methinks there will soon appear a new leader of Wikileaks.

Posted by: Martial | October 27, 2010 9:21 PM

Character assassination of whistle blowers is an old strategy. Find some way to slander the person exposing the reality. Even invent stories (eg who could believe these ridiculous stories about rape. What a joke. And who cares about his relationships with his relationship with his staff.) But in slandering Assange, the U.S. government and the military are obviously working to deflect attention from the truly devastating realities of the war exposed by Wiki-leaks. Julian Assange is a brave man and history will honor him for exposing the terrible truth of Bush and Cheney's criminal behavior. We owe it to the more than 100,000 people, many of them children and defenseless citizens, slaughtered in these senseless wars.

Posted by: Go9003 | October 27, 2010 12:48 PM

How much do they pay you these days for writing character assassination's pieces like these? I hope that they pay a lot. You call yourself a journalist? Shame on you, what the hell happend to real honest american journalists? Is this what's left of from fourth power in the US, mindless, clueless blog writers. Please, don't fool yourself and call yourself a journalist.

Journalist, you ain't,you've left 400,000 pages documenting murder, rape, torture of close to 129,000 innocents, women, men and children and you have the guts to talk about this guy. What ever his name is? Who cares, who he is or what he does in his private life? He's not the story here, nobody cares about him. Go do your job and talk about who got us into this madness in the first place.

Please, stop taking the WPost readers for mindless idiots. We're not, We know who the guilty parties are...The International Criminal Court is coming sooner than you might think!

Posted by: readwritetruth | October 27, 2010 10:12 AM

This is a good article. Believe it or not, if Mr. Assange's rape charge goes to trial, it will diminish his leadership capacity. Again to be emphasized is the incredible nature of the charge of conspiracy in such cases. Individual dirtbags, such as in Tulia Texas, might do something awful like this to win the Texas Lawman of the Year Award (when the culprit was convicted of setting up 30 people on fake cocaine charges, he begged for leniancy on account of drug addiction), but no government would permit the process to be abused to attack an individual. This is because the persons most likely to be attacked are the enemies of current politicians. No government wants to have former Governor Blagojevich's case given credence for any reason, although it nonetheless does happen that fools believe such things. Remember, neither Tulia nor Blagojevich involved violent felonies.

Posted by: Martial | October 27, 2010 7:53 AM

When this guy dumps a bunch of classified documents from Russia or China on his website, then we can talk about his "service to mankind".

Until then he's just another anti-American blowhard who knows how to get headlines.

Posted by: corco02az | October 27, 2010 7:43 AM

It is just like this: the truth is the most unpopular thing in the world. You want to be a Joanne of Arc? Then you have to be ready to be burned at the stake. On the other hand, you will be a hero for those who already knew the truth, but were afraid to tell it.

Posted by: allset707 | October 27, 2010 7:33 AM

"Even if questions about his personal life weren't germane to the interview (and given his accusations against the U.S. government, they are)"

Excuse me, but...what? How is Assange's personal life in any way, shape, or form relevant to releasing secret documents that show the US murdering civilians and hiding the total count of murdered civilians? What on Earth are you talking about? Can you please sit back and think about the big picture? Assange walked out because he wanted to talk about the US Military Complex classifying documents to hide war crimes. You and your fellow bubbleheaded news reporters simply want to talk about gossip.

Posted by: tristesse27 | October 27, 2010 6:21 AM

"Even if questions about his personal life weren't germane to the interview (and given his accusations against the U.S. government, they are)"

Excuse me, but...what? How is Assange's personal life in any way, shape, or form relevant to releasing secret documents that show the US murdering civilians and hiding the total count of murdered civilians? What on Earth are you talking about? Can you please sit back and think about the big picture? Assange walked out because he wanted to talk about the US Military Complex classifying documents to hide war crimes. You and your fellow bubbleheaded news reporters simply want to talk about gossip.

Posted by: tristesse27 | October 27, 2010 6:20 AM

Wikileaks' decision to transfer tens of thousands of raw classified field reports on the Afghan war to the New York Times and two European news organizations reflects the growing strength and sophistication of the small nonprofit Web site, founded three years ago to fight what it considers excessive secrecy.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange called the release of nearly 92,000 individual reports portraying a sputtering Afghan war effort "the nearest analogue to the Pentagon Papers." He was referring to the secret military documents that helped shift public opinion about the Vietnam War after they became public in 1971.

Assange said "We believe that the way to justice is transparency, and we are clear that the end goal is to expose injustices in the world and try to rectify them,"

We are fighting a war against what will be the greatest threat to mankind if the Taliban win in Afghanistan and help the Pakistan Taliban overthrow the already shaky Pakistani Government and access the countries large stockpile of nuclear weapons, and high tech submarines complete with 16 cruise missiles apiece. Any attack with these nukes would probably cause the deaths of millions of innocent people, and this headline celebrity seeking, Daniel Ellsberg wannabe, Assange's end goal is transparency," and "to expose injustices in the world and try to rectify them,"...

And expose all the world "injustices ? The only injustices I have seen out of wikileaks are all "US injustices." What arrogance! Where are all those "world" "injustices" from all those leftist tin-pot dictators of Africa, South America, and communist countries like Red China etc?

Assange says "We do have a view that it (the war) should be prosecuted as humanely as possible." How can the US, Australia and other co-alition countries wage war using Marquis of Queensbury rules against Islamic fanatics who will do anything to win, when fools like Assange undermine our efforts and put allied troops in harms way by selecting what classified documents "they" - a cabal of American hating leftists sitting around determining what documents and information "they" can release to expose to our enemies what "they" consider might be injustices.

If this was 1940. What then would have happened to civilization if a wikileaks was releasing secret documents? - Churchill would have had this treasonous idiot arrested and shot.

It is absolutely insane that western defence and intelligence can be held hostage to the PC whims of this group of ex hackers. Australia should immediately revoke the passport of Assange and demand his extradition from whatever country he is hiding out in.

"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within..."Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Posted by: hawkeye7 | October 27, 2010 2:57 AM

Wikileaks' decision to transfer tens of thousands of raw classified field reports on the Afghan war to the New York Times and two European news organizations reflects the growing strength and sophistication of the small nonprofit Web site, founded three years ago to fight what it considers excessive secrecy.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange called the release of nearly 92,000 individual reports portraying a sputtering Afghan war effort "the nearest analogue to the Pentagon Papers." He was referring to the secret military documents that helped shift public opinion about the Vietnam War after they became public in 1971.

Assange said "We believe that the way to justice is transparency, and we are clear that the end goal is to expose injustices in the world and try to rectify them,"

We are fighting a war against what will be the greatest threat to mankind if the Taliban win in Afghanistan and help the Pakistan Taliban overthrow the already shaky Pakistani Government and access the countries large stockpile of nuclear weapons, and high tech submarines complete with 16 cruise missiles apiece. Any attack with these nukes would probably cause the deaths of millions of innocent people, and this headline celebrity seeking, Daniel Ellsberg wannabe, Assange's end goal is transparency," and "to expose injustices in the world and try to rectify them,"...

And expose all the world "injustices ? The only injustices I have seen out of wikileaks are all "US injustices." What arrogance! Where are all those "world" "injustices" from all those leftist tin-pot dictators of Africa, South America, and communist countries like Red China etc?

Assange says "We do have a view that it (the war) should be prosecuted as humanely as possible." How can the US, Australia and other co-alition countries wage war using Marquis of Queensbury rules against Islamic fanatics who will do anything to win, when fools like Assange undermine our efforts and put allied troops in harms way by selecting what classified documents "they" - a cabal of American hating leftists sitting around determining what documents and information "they" can release to expose to our enemies what "they" consider might be injustices.

If this was 1940. What then would have happened to civilization if a wikileaks was releasing secret documents? - Churchill would have had this treasonous idiot arrested and shot.

It is absolutely insane that western defence and intelligence can be held hostage to the PC whims of this group of ex hackers. Australia should immediately revoke the passport of Assange and demand his extradition from whatever country he is hiding out in.

"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within..."Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Posted by: hawkeye7 | October 27, 2010 2:51 AM

One does not make oneself a part of the story, nor does Assange. The storytellers do. Leftist propagandists see them doing it, and conclude -- such is their bias -- that the storytellers are trying to divert us from the real story, i.e., the one Assange is putting out in a form that cannot yet be called a story, but something more like a 1001 stories all mixed up together by a museless Scheherezade.

There is a more sinister interpretation, however, of the media's truant reporting: making Assange a part of the story and simultaneously (e.g., WaPost's McGregor) accusing him of making himself the story could be an effective way to drive the fellow mad. They did it to Eldredge Cleaver and Bobby Seale. Why not to Assange? It is up to Assange to frustrate them.

Them? Yes: them: some of them have posted posts on this very story today. Go read them.

Posted by: morphex | October 27, 2010 1:40 AM

Jena McGregor will go far in this business, unless she's a nom de plume for a Pentagon operative. At least that's what this piece reads like: a Penragon Press Release.

But judging by the majority of comments here, the WaPo has been rumbled.

McGregor starts her hit job with this "The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is quickly becoming as much a part of the news as the headlines his organization is producing."

Yet no explanaton that this is because the Pentagon want it that way. Kill the messenger is their MO. But this isn't going away, and after twn years of lies, people are startng to wise up to the Pentagon lies.

Assange was quite right to walk out on CNN. More people should do this in the future when the press try to deviate the public's attention from what's really important, and in this case it's the message not the messenger.

Bravo Assange! May the Pentagon rot in the hellfire it creates.

Posted by: davidsketchley | October 26, 2010 4:17 AM

ronholtz writes:

The story is the information he got out to the world. Information you and your hacks at the Post couldn't even come close to achieving with 100 times the resources. Your problems with him almost sound personal. This reminds me of the Rolling Stone reporter who brought down the general this summer.
Stop moralizing, cut out the grandiosity that has pervaded your industry and just deliver the news. I can make up my own mind.

--------------------------------------------------------

First - this isn't an investigative article. Up there on the top of the web page, it tells you that you are in the "On Leadership" section of the Washington Post. Therefore, this is an article about how Mr. Assange's reputed adversarial style might be impacting his abilities as a leader within his own organization.

Second - enlighten us, please, and show us what incredible, sordid information he has unearthed that wasn't known in unclassified generalities (meaning, names, places and exact counts expunged) before the leak. I'll start out by giving you the (obviously false) report from the US military that they don't keep track of exact casualty figures. Still, hardly worth more than maybe one front-page entry.

Posted by: iamweaver | October 26, 2010 12:54 AM

No country willingly sacrifices the integrity of its criminal justice system as respects crimes of violence over such a small matter. Moreover, the rule in such things is DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES. An example of obeisance to this dictum would be the CIA's inviting Mr. Assange to visit a cornfield:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_dguEsATfI

Posted by: Martial | October 25, 2010 11:51 PM

Your article REEKS of journalistic self-importance. You either need to get out of D.C. more often(where you will find almost everyone on the planet has no idea who you are and certainly could care even less of what you have to say)or understand that journalists cover the story but should not be the story, which is exactly what Ms. Shubert was trying to do. When did you become the keeper of the moral flame? Is this your job? Most people really could not care about the personal life of Mr. Assange or his managerial style. The story is the information he got out to the world. Information you and your hacks at the Post couldn't even come close to achieving with 100 times the resources. Your problems with him almost sound personal. This reminds me of the Rolling Stone reporter who brought down the general this summer.
Stop moralizing, cut out the grandiosity that has pervaded your industry and just deliver the news. I can make up my own mind.

Posted by: ronholtz | October 25, 2010 10:53 PM

The Post should be focusing on the real issue -- who at the Pentagon (or the White House) gave the order to turn a blind eye to Iraq torture. Assange is a hero politically (his private life, who cares).

Posted by: cossack2 | October 25, 2010 10:46 PM

Sweden is some force in the international arena, only and because is a nest of vipers. Consider these: They gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Kissinger, Begin, Peres, Wiesel, etc, because the Executive Director for the Nobel Foundation is Michael Sohlman (NYAS.org)! Go figure!

In this case, they are interested Operatives on the assault to Assange, WikiLeaks and to the Open Information for The People concept; in other words they are Totalitarians, in sheep's clothing.

Make it short: Nothing coming out of Sweden, is healthy anymore. Much less, any pitiful criticism of Assange.

Posted by: SouthStar | October 25, 2010 10:23 PM

This article is nothing more than character assassination. It is a pity that issues of substance were not raised.

For instance, the driving forces that motivate Assange and the difficulties that his organisation has in obtaining this information.

I would have like to have seen the Pentagon identify those documents that will cause harm to the security of the USA and other nations as opposed to embarrassment.

Posted by: robertjames1 | October 25, 2010 10:03 PM

Hopefully a bullet for this guy has already been made.

Posted by: alientech | October 25, 2010 9:31 PM

Swedish law enforcement would not produce charges of rape at the request of the CIA. To aver a conspiracy between the US national government, the Swedish national government, and the police bureau in Sweden where the act allegedly occurred is redolent of OJ Simpson's defense. Do remember there is no way to know if a person is a rapist simply by looking or talking with him. Mr. Assange is no more or less likely than President Obama or Chief Justice Roberts to be a rapist simply by virtue of external appearances.

Posted by: Martial | October 25, 2010 9:08 PM

we need to be able to see through this scums head.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | October 25, 2010 9:01 PM

The alleged rape allegations against Assange sure have the smell of the CIA or another national intelligence agency on them. Especially after the bizarre way they (allegations) initially surfaced, were buried, then were pumped up again just about the same time Assange was putting out more releases of information. Isn't this a bit odd? Also, do you really believe the reports of problems in the Wikileaks organization that have surfaced? When you have the gall to tick off the major intelligence organizations of the USA and a dozen or more other countries, as Assange has, you are not a guy anybody is going to be selling life insurance to, anytime soon!

Posted by: magnifco1000 | October 25, 2010 8:11 PM

How come that the WP compares an alleged smear campaign by a feminist graduate now working for s Christian fundamentalist sister organization to the Socialist party in Sweden and whose best known work while in University was a paper dealing with how to frame a man and accuse him of rape. The other woman/girl has not been heard of. Most sickening is the bunch of female prosecutors that supported the rape allegation, except one sensible one who wanted to throw it out by was superseded by a more senior feminist. And it has now been going on since latter part of August. This makes it all suspicious like unduly political pressure on Swedish authority. It is not the first time. In 1944 American diplomats threaten to bomb Sweden’s second largest city if we did not stop trading with Germany which country at that time was the only country that could provide coal and oil for heating. The comparison have meant that WP and its writer can pass the atrocity in ME without a decent comment.

Posted by: jibsail | October 25, 2010 6:38 PM

The first casualty of war is truth and the second casualty is anyone who is brave enough to expose the true horrors of war.
Thankfully,the truth has a habit of
winning out in the end.Let's hope it will always be so.

Posted by: charlie57 | October 25, 2010 6:37 PM

Why give this man the press? He has no ties to the US other than posting stolen papers from a US soldier who should be charged for treason. He puts our country in danger and he is a hero???lol

Posted by: Philco1 | October 25, 2010 6:26 PM

The Army just presented us with a distaff warrior of the year. That's the same Army which puffed up the unfortunate Jessica Lynch (any news lately?) and embarrassed us with Lynnde England and Brigadier General (!) Janet Karpinski. Perhaps security and veracity of mission were overlooked in its rush to humiliate our real fighting men (in the face of an enemy that takes abominations seriously and wonders why we don't) as being but one component of "our men, women, gays and trannies in uniform."

Posted by: phvr38 | October 25, 2010 6:23 PM

I have suggestion for a topic for the "On Leadership" column. How can the leadership of a great organization as the US Army fail so miserably as the Wikileaks documents seem to indicate.

The troops on the ground reported numerous incident where they had direct proof of the Iraqi Police and government organization using torture against detainees. This was, according to the leaked documents, up the command chain. At some levels all such reports were dismissed as needing no further investigation.

This is a very serious thing as Amnesty International has pointed out. When the US military subsequently continued to hand detainees over to Iraqi government organizations they became guilty of a warcrime.

Is this a failing of leadership at the top or is this a consequence of the military hiarchy, nobody wants to upset the higher ups even if they know they are doing bad things?

Posted by: spamban | October 25, 2010 5:58 PM

Quick! Shoot the messenger!

(or at least smear him a lot...)

Why the personal attacks on Assange when the real story is 400,000 pages of Iraq war documents? Why no analysis of the reports to verify or deny the Pentagon's and the Bush Whitehouse proclamations? This is just like CNN's pathetic attempt at a 'gotchya' interview in which Assange rightly walked off the set.

Assange is a modern Daniel Ellsberg.

(for the wapo reporters, he's the person who released the pentagon papers...)

Posted by: UNLISTED | October 25, 2010 5:39 PM

It seems the leader becomes a story when that is the narrative put forth by the media. My interest in the subject is pretty basic--What do the leaked documents say? Can the information contained within be believed? Can it be verified? Does the information contained in the documents justify being classified as State secrets, or are they just classified that way because they're embarrassing to the government or military? I have no problem with sensitive information being classified, but such classification needs to be used very sparingly. I think it's critical for a functioning democracy to know as much as possible, and it seems that WikiLeaks is providing needed sunshine.
As far as Julian Assange is concerned, I couldn't care less. It would seem to me (if I were a conspiracy theorist) that our intelligence apparatus would have little problem creating any number of negative stories about anyone of their choosing. Again--ignore the man, investigate the leaked data.

Posted by: Theocracy | October 25, 2010 5:25 PM

I don't get it! Wikileaks breaks a story that proves the US military is directly responsible for tens of thousands civilian deaths (which they denied even be keeping count of. They also prove that the US military knew that the Iraq Government systematically tortured people that the same US military handed over to them. Plus a lot of other information from the facts as recorded by the US military. The only news about this here at washington post is some piece written as a part of a smearing campaing on wikileaks founder!

How is the atmosphere on your planet washington post?

Posted by: spamban | October 25, 2010 5:20 PM

Odd how Mr Assange, and not Bush/Cheney is seen as the one who is putting troops in harms way.

Who actually put the troops there a decade ago?

Posted by: incognito-ergo-sum | October 25, 2010 5:13 PM

Kind of reminds me of Grizzly Man, who was eaten by one of his friends.

Posted by: hipshot | October 25, 2010 4:42 PM

Well, well. Mr. Assange has released documents that prove that Hussein had WMD's, or haven't you heard that one yet?

Posted by: 4everamazed

= = = = = = = = = = =

So far about 500 artillery and rocket shells containing chemical munitions have been located. All were pre-Desert Storm weapons.

Chemical munitions are unstable and degrade over time. So the chemicals are mixed up in matches and then the munitions are filled a short time before using them. Saddams’s chemical weapons program at the time of the recent invasion was basically moth-balled, but he could have re-started it and begun gassing people within 6-8 months of the sanctions lifting.

That was the real danger – the oil-for-food program had begun to break down and Saddam would have been able to quickly re-start chemical weapons production if we hadn’t invaded and deposed him when we did.

the facts aren't secret, but they have been distorted and demagogued in the press and by politicians.


Posted by: ZZim | October 25, 2010 4:01 PM

The Times (late, as ever, to the party) is reporting today that other Wikileaks members have come to realize that the messianic Mr. Assange is deranged and are defecting from the organization in droves. They were all opposed to releasing the name of Afghan informants, but Mr. Assange insisted.

Posted by: Itzajob

= = = = = = = =

Assange exposes his true colors. He wants those Afghans to die because he wants the Taliban to win. He doesn’t care who he hurts, as long as he gets his way.

He’s an evil megalomaniac who cares nothing about anyone other than himself.

Nice to see the deluded fools who bought into his lies figuring out the truth. It just goes to show you that even Liberals are capable of perceiving the truth if you hit them over the head with it hard enough … repetitively… for a long time.


Posted by: ZZim | October 25, 2010 3:50 PM

Julian Assange is a hero. It appears that those who do not want to hear the message resort to attacking the messenger. In some respects the major press in our country bears responsibility for the bloodshed and terrible loss of life both in Iraq and Afghanistan and now there are those in the press who attack those who reveal the truth about the horrors of our aggression against those two countries. The attack on Iraq, and possibly Afghanistan as well, was and is a major war crime but sadly, the perpetrators will not face justice as did the Nazis after World War 2.
Those who attack Assange should be ashamed of themselves. This brave man is putting his life in jeopardy to release what should be known to every American. The Iraqis and the Afghanis already know the horrible things that the US and Britain have done in their country. It is the Americans, many of whom have had their collective heads in the sand for years who do not seem to know or care that what the US is doing in their name is increasing the danger to our country. We are making enemies faster than we can kill or torture them and the blame must go right to the top in our country. Who could blame an Iraqi who saw his loved ones gunned down by American soldiers if he took out his justified anger against America or American interests?
We were hit on 9/11 and in taking revenge against 19 hijackers we have, so far, been responsible for many tens of thousands of deaths and maimings since that date. Our hands are soaked in the blood of innocents. We may never be able to wash away that blood.

Posted by: janba | October 25, 2010 3:39 PM

Julian Assange is a hero. It appears that those who do not want to hear the message resort to attacking the messenger. In some respects the major press in our country bears responsibility for the bloodshed and terrible loss of life both in Iraq and Afghanistan and now there are those in the press who attack those who reveal the truth about the horrors of that aggression on the part of the US. The attack on Iraq was and is a major war crime and sadly, the perpetrators will not face justice as did the Nazis after World War 2.
Those who attack Assange should be ashamed of themselves. He is putting his life in jeopardy to release what should be known to every American. The Iraqis and the Afghanis already know the horrible things that the US and Britain have done in their country. It is the Americans, many of whom have had their collective heads in the sand for years who do not seem to know or care that what the US is doing in their name is increasing the danger to our country. We are making enemies faster than we can kill or torture them and the blame must go right to the top in our country. Who could blame an Iraqi who saw his loved ones gunned down by American soldiers if he took out his justified anger against America and American interests?
We were hit on 9/11 and we have, so far, been responsible for many tens of thousands of deaths and maimings since that date. Our hands are soaked in the blood of innocents. We may never be able to wash away that blood.

Posted by: janba | October 25, 2010 3:32 PM

Well, well. Mr. Assange has released documents that prove that Hussein had WMD's, or haven't you heard that one yet? After this second dump of documents on the internet, we may find out more things that the libs have been bashing Bush about may be true. This should be interesting! Bring it on, Mr. Assange! You may actually help put the dems and libs in another place!

Posted by: 4everamazed | October 25, 2010 3:28 PM

He's got to come clean on the other information he has.

Posted by: to_robert | October 25, 2010 3:14 PM

Nowhere to be found in all the talk of government spending; Defense. Now over $750 billion per year. No problem?

Lift up the rock to find more slush funds, overspending and fraud, than even in Medicare.

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | October 25, 2010 3:10 PM

Another bomb-throwing antiwar lefty.

Posted by: ravitchn | October 25, 2010 2:58 PM

What's that saying about living in glass houses and throwing stones???

Posted by: lambsphotos | October 25, 2010 2:57 PM

PLEASE WATCH THIS -- PLEASE -- BEFORE YOU POST A COMMENT!!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/oct/23/iraq-war-logs-torture-frago242

Posted by: ZeZa1 | October 25, 2010 2:48 PM

revtkatt posts:

...

And WaPo should not endlessly parrot the same accusations about the organization
or individuals without conducting its own research.

-----------------------------------------------------

Please pay attention to the scope and focus of this article. It's not an investigative story, it's a story about leadership, utilizing other news sources to make its assessment.

Though I have to admit, I love reading forums here, where posters turn the article into either a character assassination by The Man, or into a Worker's Polemic by the commie press.

Posted by: iamweaver | October 25, 2010 2:20 PM

Typical that a person who puts soldiers in danger would be a hero to the left. Remind me again that you care about the troops so I can laugh in your face.

Posted by: dtysko | October 25, 2010 2:02 PM

Assange is a hero, Obama should give is Peace Prize to him.

It is not surprising that dirty tricks will be used, look at the Plumbers.

It is suprising that a CNN interviewer can't keep on subject. But, she works for...

And WaPo should not endlessly parrot the same accusations about the organization
or individuals without conducting its own research.

Posted by: revtkatt | October 25, 2010 1:53 PM

Is it just me or is Mr. Assange really Mr. Humphreys from "Are You Being Served"?

Posted by: Natstoyou | October 25, 2010 1:38 PM

Mr. Assange's attitude should not surprise anyone. His arrogance and egocentristic personality makes him believe he is some sort of "special" individual because he was lucky enough to find a traitor in the US Army that provided him with some documents that do not say anything new about what is going on in Irak and Afghanistan. Unfortunately for Mr. Assange, his discovery won't change anything. If he thinks it will, he is very naive or plain stupid. In the end, he is going to become the Michael Moore of Australia. Funny and grotesque, really.

Posted by: cristina1999us | October 25, 2010 1:27 PM

Assange has the classic looks of a James Bond villain. Where's 007?

Posted by: BluByu | October 25, 2010 12:14 PM

The MSM has been ordered to ignore the substance of the leaks and try to character assassinate Assange instead.
Looks like their attempts at distraction are failing badly.
The MSM are toothless lapdogs of the Neocons.

Posted by: qualquan | October 25, 2010 12:04 PM

assange for president, ellsberg for his running mate! best way to vaporize a vampire is by exposure to sunlight, right?

jefferson said "any government which makes a policy of long keeping secrets from its public is no longer working in the best interest of the people." and he also said that "only criminals and tyrants require secrecy." and we have long had both here.

if i had my druthers, every grisly secret of every govt, religion and corporation would be exposed for all to see and the criminals put on trial for their crimes against humanity. but of course, the new nazis 'just say no' to nuremberg trials... instead primping and posing as the arbiters of human rights at large while torturing kids for years, bombing civilians from cowardly drones.

Posted by: tazdelaney | October 25, 2010 11:48 AM

tonyrc78, there is absolutely nothing in Wikileaks that we all didn't know about prior to its release, in general. There may be individual cases of brutality, confused identity, friendly fire, etc. that we are unfamiliar with - but this *is* what happens in a war. People, some completely innocent, are killed and maimed. It's why we should be avoiding war whenever we can, and why we should try to curtail wartime activities as soon as we can.

If you didn't know this already, then you are truly naïve. Do you really think that any war can be "clean"? Better, perhaps, then firebombing entire cities a la WWII - but war is a horrible, soul-destroying event.

Posted by: iamweaver | October 25, 2010 11:45 AM

I fear it might be our CIA or military intelligence putting out the rape allegation. Just put a bullet in his brain. Keep the homo leakers out of the defense.

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | October 25, 2010 11:43 AM

I must say that I am really shocked at how ready WaPo, CNN, and the NYT are to talk about Mr. Assange personally while reporting almost nothing of the information that he published. If he committed crimes in Sweden it does not change the facts within the documents. Let's talk about what has been done in our names. Let's talk about sanctioned torture and military lies to the American people about what has happened in Iraq. There is certainly nothing wrong with reporting on Mr. Assange's exploits but where is the reporting on what these documents say about our country and our military? Not here in WaPo.

Posted by: tonyrc78 | October 25, 2010 11:18 AM

What a hack job here. Assange is a culture hero. Eff off, Wa Po.
Posted by: johndenton46 | October 25, 2010 10:47 AM
---------
Assange should be assinated and so should you.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | October 25, 2010 11:14 AM

Julian Assange is a reckless ego maniac who has endangered the lives of hundreds of people. To call him a hero is preposterous. He clearly believes that he is above the law and his imperious behavior should come as no surprise. Hopefully the net is tightening around Assange and he will soon star in his trial for espionage and sex crimes.

Posted by: dcheretic1 | October 25, 2010 11:11 AM

Ms Macgregor does the work of John Burns, the cheerleader for the Iraqi war crime at the NYT, by ever-so-slightly impugning the morality of the source rather than focusing on the crimes of the US war machine in Iraq.

Posted by: Davidd1 | October 25, 2010 11:08 AM

After reading articles about this little, little man it is not hard to understand what he is all about, himself. I can easily believe that he must be impossible to work for. But who would want to in the first place? His release of secret United States documents is of course repugnant and of no real value other than to give him a sense of importance. The accusations of rape against Mr. Assange are not a surprise either. This is a person who is very insecure and insignificant. With the release of documents that the United States can do nothing about he feels powerful. His attacks upon women, if real, are another way for him to feel commanding over others. This is a very disturbed individual. One whose actions will be the end of him.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 25, 2010 11:03 AM

BartHawkinsKreps writes:

No mystery here: The messenger becomes the story when the major US media make him the story. It's no surprise that major media enablers of the Iraq war, this paper included, are active participants in focusing on Assange's alleged quirks.
-------------------------------------------------------

You make Mr. Assange sound like some institution-crushing crusader who is being assaulted by the lackeys of imperial forces - when, let's face it, Wikileaks has yet to reveal anything of serious import.

Though the idea that the "left-wing loonie liberal media" are also the ones in bed with the US military industry makes for a humorous image, I will admit.

Why is it that so many people start spinning up some amazing collusion of mainstream international press, industry and political players across partisan boundaries to keep their personal opinions intact...

Posted by: iamweaver | October 25, 2010 10:52 AM

What a hack job here. Assange is a culture hero. Eff off, Wa Po.

Posted by: johndenton46 | October 25, 2010 10:47 AM

What a hack job here. Assange is a culture hero. Eff off, Wa Po.

Posted by: johndenton46 | October 25, 2010 10:46 AM

No mystery here: The messenger becomes the story when the major US media make him the story. It's no surprise that major media enablers of the Iraq war, this paper included, are active participants in focusing on Assange's alleged quirks.

Posted by: BartHawkinsKreps | October 25, 2010 10:22 AM

The Times (late, as ever, to the party) is reporting today that other Wikileaks members have come to realize that the messianic Mr. Assange is deranged and are defecting from the organization in droves. They were all opposed to releasing the name of Afghan informants, but Mr. Assange insisted.

Posted by: Itzajob | October 25, 2010 10:19 AM

I certainly wouldn't sell life insurance to Mr. Assange. It is pretty certain that some secret agency within the US government has a contract out to kill him. We Americans seem to think that assassin is an honorable profession. Many recent movies have glorified the profession. To most Americans life is cheap and Mr. Assange qualifies as an "enemy combatant". A term invented by Americans to justify evasion of the international laws concerning prisoners of war.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | October 25, 2010 10:15 AM

So far the only thing that Wikileaks has achieved in publishing old news is publicity for themselves. Everyone is aware that War Is Hell, so what is new? They could really do something worthwhile if they printed some secrets about the terrorist organizations, and their supporters.

Posted by: leberk | October 25, 2010 10:07 AM

"true patriot of mankind" - yeah right.

The guy is just another self-absorbed leftist blowhard who doesn't care about the people who are going to be killed because of his behavior. His primary motivation seems to be self-aggrandisement and self-promotion.

Posted by: ZZim | October 25, 2010 9:58 AM

I think that's going too far, ALANWROBEL. Wikileaks has revealed several thousand casualties not reported by the US military, and that's a good thing. They have reminded the average reader that war is a terrible thing, and lots of people, civilian and soldier, get killed and wounded. They have reminded us again that war tends to warp people terribly. But they have hardly revealed anything earth-shattering or exposed any horrible, insidious cover-up (like that done by the US Govt. during Vietnam for example).

So far, they have been about as effective as any traditional investigative news reporter - although personally, I think the exposé in the WaPo about treatment of wounded Iraq vets was more informative, and resulted in more good.

That said - it sounds as though they *could* be more effective, if only they were following up on leads and leaks from other sources, and that their founder is deliberately ignoring those. That's too bad.

Posted by: iamweaver | October 25, 2010 9:29 AM

I consider Julian Assange to be a tremendous hero for the information he has disseminated to the world , and to history. Ms. McGregor reflects poorly on herself and her paper with this silly hatchet job on true patriot of mankind.

Posted by: alanwrobel | October 25, 2010 9:09 AM

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