To the utter jubilation of one long time commenter, Wikileaks’s Julian Assange has been hired to host an interview program on The Propaganda Network Formerly Known as Russia Today. Said commenter and I have polar opposite views on this, but this announcement validates my response to one of his comments last night:
And many authoritarians support Wikileaks, precisely for the reason that Wikileaks exists: it is at root a fundamentally anti-American project, and that’s quite attractive to many authoritarians.
And, as I have noted repeatedly in the past, thereby inciting paroxysms of rage by another frequent commenter, RT is first and foremost an anti-US project. That is its primary purpose. It is an important piece of Putin’s information operations directed at the west generally, and the US in particular.
Assange is also virulently anti-American. Among the most virulent, in fact.
So this pairing is perfectly understandable, and I came quite close to predicting it. I certainly pointed out the logic of the marriage in that comment.
This whole relationship gives the lie to Assange’s pious claims that he is about openness and transparency and freedom everywhere. If he were, he would not be pimping (or is it whoring?) for an authoritarian government that is notoriously secretive, and which routinely engages in widespread surveillance of anybody and everybody.
Assange might have a little more credibility if he were an equal opportunity leaker. But no chance of that. Especially now. Now that he is a kept man.
Yup. Just another anti-American poser wrapping himself in pieties.
And Assange cares too much about his health to do to the Russian Foreign Ministry what he did to the State Department. This brings to mind what Orwell wrote about Gandhi:
It is difficult to see how Gandhi’s methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the régime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again. Without a free press and the right of assembly, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intentions known to your adversary. Is there a Gandhi in Russia at this moment? And if there is, what is he accomplishing? The Russian masses could only practise civil disobedience if the same idea happened to occur to all of them simultaneously, and even then, to judge by the history of the Ukraine famine, it would make no difference.
Now Putin’s Russia is far softer than Stalin’s USSR of which Orwell wrote. But to say that Assange would be in far greater peril were he to do against Russia than what he did against the US goes without saying.
But that’s really rather idle conjecture, because the basic fact is that Assange has no interest in doing so. The enemy of his enemy is his friend. And now his employer.
And for more on RT, check out this report from Al Jazeera(!):