Friday, September 2, 2011

The Cult Of Julian Assange Worshippers

It all began so innocently. I started hanging out with a bad crowd on the intertubes, digging into secret filez about energy wars and government corruption. The Afghan War Logs. The Iraq War Logs. Suddenly I was being called a "WikiLeaks groupie".

And it was true! Yes, I was revelling in this subversive counter-culture! I was spending hours and hours on my computer, chatting with other "groupies", posting my findings on Twitter, writing up stories the media was ignoring and governments didn't want people to know. I began writing for WikiLeaks Central and even got re-tweeted by Mr. @wikileaks himself - an intoxicating high for a crazy, deluded cyber-hippy like myself.

It was just a fashionable thing, obviously. It would have passed soon enough, I'm sure. But then along came CableGate, with over 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables just begging to be investigated. How could I walk away now? Ignoring my wife's futile pleas, I launched myself into the adventure like an alcoholic diving into a beer-filled swimming pool. Alas!

To make matters worse, the Arab Spring was spreading across North Africa and the Middle East. Even European countries began to witness mass protests with young people - obviously as foolish as myself - setting up camps in the centre of major capitals. When they cited WikiLeaks as an inspiration, I felt as if I knew exactly what they meant. There seemed to be some kind of connection between the growing pile of Cablegate revelations and the growing outrage on the streets. With retrospect, as the media kindly explained, we were obviously experiencing some kind of mass delusion!

Meanwhile, the voices of reason were growing louder. Julian Assange is a narcissist, they said. He's dangerous. He's putting innocent lives at risk. He's a criminal who should be locked up or assassinated! La la la la la! I blocked my ears, refusing to even acknowledge their logic. In fact, these voices only fuelled my determination to support the embattled WikiLeaks insiders.

When Daniel Domscheit-Berg split with Assange, taking a batch of secret files with him and crippling the all-important WikiLeaks drop-box, I cursed him as a traitor. When he published a book, sold movie rights, and announced his own "OpenLeaks" organisation, I ridiculed him as a contemptible opportunist. But when he told a Geman newspaper where to find a loosed copy of the entire Cablegate package, insisting that the password to the file had already been published, that was the last straw. I snapped!

Something inside my head must have broken right then and there...

I just couldn't understand how Domscheit-Berg could bring public attention to the full, unredacted Cablegate package and still argue that he supported whistle-blowers. And I couldn't understand how the German media could report this without condemning him.

I couldn't understand it, either, when Guardian editor David Leigh claimed that there was nothing wrong with publishing the full password in his rushed, tell-all WikiLeaks book. I mean, if it was OK for him to publish the password, how could he criticise Assange for lax security? Wasn't that hypocrisy?

Leigh even criticised Assange for not speaking up when the book was published. But what was Julian supposed to say? "OMG you just published the password and there's a rogue file floating on WikiLeaks mirror sites!"???

Things got even weirder when I read the newspapers the next day. Everything was Julian Assange's fault! Daniel Domscheit-Berg was barely mentioned. Leigh's password publishing was old news already. How was that possible, I wondered?

Formerly loyal WikiLeaks supporters began to peel away from the organisation. It was time to join them, to denounce Assange as "an Icarus who flew too close to the sun", then step back and watch him fall to earth with a thud.

But I couldn't do it. OK, clearly Assange should have been more careful in protecting that Cablegate file. He should have removed it from the hidden sub-folder and made a new password after Leigh downloaded it. But the WikLeaks site was under repeated denial-of-service attacks, his organisation was fending off accusations from all sides, they were working with minimal resources, and Assange himself was being set up (or so I foolishly believed) for sex crimes in Sweden.

Under the circumstances, the enigmatic Australian's mistake seemed understandable to me. From my twisted viewpoint, it hardly de-legitimized the entire WikiLeaks venture. But what did I know? I had already slipped from the tenuous grasp of "Assangeism" into a deep state of blind devotion to the WikiLeaks founder. I was gone, baby, gone.

So now I light my candles, bow to my little online altar, and send my daily missives out into the ether, praying to the gods of transparency, truth and light. It's madness, I know. But who will join me?

30 comments:

  1. I totally will and do join you. I'm still a believer. :)

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  2. I didn't want WL to publish the full cables but could see that it was not a black and white issue. But their actions have not diminished my support for them one bit. The arguments for publishing were equally as strong as those not to publish, maybe even stronger given the files were out there and being used to discredit assange. Following WLs has been eye opening, an extraordinary learning experience, I'm addicted and have not felt this politically engaged ever. The response of the MSM is hardly surprising, the guardian journalists truly contemptible and I am beyond surprised at the lack of fact checking before publishing of journalists. If this makes me blindly devoted, I've joined.

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  3. I'm there. Statues, the works.

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  4. Lay down the book, for to follow the tale
    Were to trade in false blame, as all mortals who fail.
    And may the gods salve you on life's dreary round;
    For 'tis whispered: "Who finds not, 'tis he shall be found !"
    CJ Dennis
    I Believe

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  5. I'm totally with you. I don't care about 'supporters' dropping of and retweeting the bulshit of Leigh & Ball . When the going gets tough, the tough run away screaming.

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  6. You can stay clear eyed and still support Wikileaks. No cult necessary.

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  7. "Everything was Julian Assange's fault! Daniel Domscheit-Berg was barely mentioned."

    This is the real crime here. Both the file and the password have been in the public domain for months - it wasn't until DDB linked the two that there was a problem. Let's not let the little worm crawl away from this!

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  8. i support assange...to the end....

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  9. Jaraparilla, I feel ya. You're not the only one. I got infected, too. Millions of us are. While "they" still want to make us believe WE were in the minority, I fear THEY are :) It's time for the (constructive!) warrior archetype. You are just one of us my friend. Mariechaon

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  10. "Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change."
    Robert F. Kennedy


    More power to Julian Assange, more power to Bradley Manning and the future people whom these figures will inspire.

    I hope when my time comes I'll have the strength and personal conviction to risk putting my head on the chopping block for what I stand for.

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  11. Could not have said it any better.
    Thank you.

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  12. Leak lovers here too... for life....
    Decency is not optional...

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  13. +1 internets to you, sir.

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  14. When i pause to think about how impossible it seemed, this idea of revealing corruption wherever it hides, i am so respectful of Bradley Manning (if he's the one), Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
    Thanks for this post, let the mainstream media rot in their lies and deceit!

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  15. Dude.
    Everyone needs a leak twice a day. You need it since you're born on this dirty planet.
    :0)

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  16. I love it! Very witty :).

    It is true that some supporters are a little too quick to bite, though, but I don't see it as nearly as big of a problem as some make it out to be.

    We who support the cause just need to calm each other down from time to time, and get our messages out and across clearly and with precision. WikiLeaks can stand on its principles, all we need is the patience to make careful arguments and to offer useful support.

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  17. Well said. Thank you.

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  18. Good article. Title not so much.

    I will join you, but not as a 'cult member' but rather as a free & independent thinker. I believe in what Wikileaks & it's editor-in-chief are doing. I always say that Wikileaks is about the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Freedom of The Press, right?

    BTW, after reading many accounts on the Swedish case vs Assange, I don't see anything "foolish" about believing he was set-up. Take down the leader & you take down the organization, or at least that's what the U.S. government believes.

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  19. Bukko, now a CanuckoSeptember 7, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Mate -- how are you doing? I was just clicking around randomly and came across something or other that made me enter Bush Out as an addy. And there's something from Sept. 8 (which is actually tomorrow, where I'm sitting) saying you're on a new site. I swear I am not stalking you! Good to see you're still alive. We're settled in fairly well to Canada and I am working on a psychiatric ward, which I like better than the medical ward where I was. The way I see it, everybody is insane, but at least the ones here are formally diagnosed and I can give them meds for that. I still think Canadians are bloody boring compared to Aussies. The most interesting people up here, IMO, are the immigrants.

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  20. P.S. As far as Assange, I'm in 100% agreement with Glenn Greenwald's take on him. Assange is a tad narcissicistic in person, and perhaps a trifle pervy. But if you have female groupies throwing themselves at you and you're not married, what's the harm in piling on, eh? I don't think he coerced them, and it looks like another Matahir Mohammed-style frame-up to me. As for what he and Wikileaks have done, more power to them! The truth should out.

    Y'know, it's because of you that I read Glenzilla every day. I had been conscious of him before, but the way you galah'ed about him made me curious. Now I'm addicted. But it's a good addiction.

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  21. hi
    jaraparilla is from a novel of jack white. a novel i have read when i was maybe 25. impressive. weird. brutal.
    that left me a sense of quietness. i was relieved.
    why? i do not know.
    but.
    i will read it again.
    to understand, why someone names his blog after a fictious place and becomes real.

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  22. Actually the name Jaraparilla is derived from the local Aboriginal name for the area where I live. No need to re-read Jack White!

    Bukko, nice to hear from you again. I thought you must have retired by now, what with all the gold bars you have been hiding in the back yard for so many years. Hope your wife is happy in Canada.

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  23. i remember it as a story of two brothers in love. no gold bars. no wife. no aboringals. a different time, when not everything was guilty.
    dear gary lord, canada is fine without me.

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  24. I thought you must have retired by now, what with all the gold bars you have been hiding in the back yard for so many years.

    No retirement for this bum-wiper. I'm on the same terms and conditions as I was for our first three years in Down Under -- I MUST work, or I will be deported as an indentured servant who has not fulfilled his entry visa obligations. We have applied for our "ticket of leave," i.e. permanent residency. But believe it or not, there were fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through getting that in Oz than there are in Canada. F'rinstance, we have to go through FOUR medical exams over the course of a year to ensure we're not germy immigrants, as opposed to just one in Australia.

    The gold is one of the reasons I feel sanguine about the current economic times. Did you know that a kilogram of it is about the same size as one of those fancy Lindt chocolate bars you get at the grocers? A 100-gm. lump is the size and shape of the Hershey's bite-sized chokkies we give out to kids on Halloween. Yet the kilo is worth close to $60,000 U.S. at the moment (which would be like $28.50 in the mighty, mighty Aussie dollar.) You want to get your pulse racing? Wander through Schipol airport in Amsterdam wearing a wad of such bars (not saying how many) while you're waiting for a plane, wondering whether someone's going to suss what you've got and bop you over the head to take them. It's literally possible to carry the price of a new house on your body. (Not a new house in the bubblicious Aussie property market, though.)

    Do I detect a note of envy there, Gandhi? (I prefer your screen name to the real one, eh?) Don't feel that way. Wads of gold are a blessing and a curse. They become something to worry about. Will it get stolen? How the hell do I sell one when and if the time comes? If I take this candy-bar sized thing in, will someone really hand me tens of thousands in actual money? Suppose they try to bargain me down from the spot price? Do they report me to the government? Suppose ownership of gold is declared to be a form of economic terrorism? Will I be stuck paying massive taxes on the profit? It's like Midas and Damocles rolled into one.

    That said, I'm glad to have those worries. High level worries, they are. Better than survival worries.

    Anyway, I shall check the blog occasionally to see what words of wisdom and morality you wish to impart. I hope your life is proceeding as well as mine.

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  25. i just found christals in a swiss cheese.
    want some? very tasty!

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  26. LOL when politicians globally constantly lie and warmonger due to pure greed, it is no wonder that Assange has become popular in epic proportions. Please excuse those with half a brain, not to be brainwashed by the petty so called newsworthy events of the latest hollywood gossip.

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  27. Til the bitter end my friend!
    I've got the disease as well, and I would not want to be cured.
    Its the best thing that ever happend to me, and the craziest:)
    /Catharina

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  28. The WikiFreak cult is as much a part of me today as it was before it's inception. It took one person to realise my life long dream of revealing the kind of caper that Julian chose not to ignore, and I am forever grateful and my unconditional positive regard is there as well. ~ Shona ~

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