Assange Sells Himself to Russia

Oh, I enjoy saying I told you so. Did I say that Assange was a money-hungry hacker and not a brave freedom fighter as everybody wanted to imagine him, or what?

So what does our James Bond of the New Millenium who, as we all recognize provided absolutely no new information to anybody and still got super famous for his fake rebelliousness, do now? Surprise, surprise! Our undefeated freedom lover has now sold himself to Russia, that paradise of freedom and free expression. Yippee. Now he will finally be able to tell the world whatever Putin wants the world to know:

It’s the television channel that has given voice to a thousand anti-western conspiracy theories, while avoiding criticism of the hand that feeds it. Now state-run Russia Today, the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda arm, has forged an unlikely partnership – with the self-proclaimed defender of truth and freedom Julian Assange.

One day after the WikiLeaks founder said he was launching a 10-part series of interviews with “key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries”, Russia Today announced it had won exclusive first broadcast rights for the show, titled The World Tomorrow, and was due to begin airing the show in March.

“Our viewers are open to the discussions that will be presented through Julian’s show on our channel,” the channel’s editor-in-chief, Kremlin loyalist Margarita Simonyan, said in a statement. That may well be true, unless the guest comes from Russia. The channel, launched in December 2005 as part of a government campaign to boost Russia’s lagging global influence, remains slavishly pro-Kremlin, revelling in the antics of Vladimir Putin and avoiding sensitive topics, such as the prime minister’s rumoured wealth and his growing authoritarianism.

Will people agree now that I was right when I said that this guy cares about nothing but making a quick buck while selling himself to the highest bidder? That’s what people who believe in the truth do nowadays. They sell themselves to Putin’s propaganda machine, right?

I told you so, I told you so, I told you so.

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17 comments on “Assange Sells Himself to Russia

  1. An interesting insight into my blog roll: I’m seeing lots of post about Assange getting a guest-starring role on an episode of The Simpsons, but you’re the only one mentioning this.

  2. Devil’s Advocate: At this point, if Julian Assange manages to resolve his legal problems with the UK and Sweden, he’s going to need to find some friends in a country that won’t cooperate with the CIA.

    I don’t approve of what he’s doing, but I don’t know what I would do if my best-case scenario was acquittal in Sweden followed by a visit from a CIA drone craft.

    • Well, it isn’t like Russia will go to war with the US over Assange. :-)

      I agree, however, that this makes total sense for him from the point of view of rational self-interest. Just like everything else he did. But it does chip away at his aura of heroic martyrdom, doesn’t it?

  3. I don’t think he’s looking for somebody to go to war over him. I think he’s looking for a place that will give him refuge, in exchange for some anti-Western propaganda.

    He isn’t right to do what he’s doing now, but it is eminently rational and predictable that a guy facing what he’s facing (I’m not talking about the rape charges; I don’t know enough specifics to comment) might decide that anti-West is the way to go right now.

    I don’t know how sincere he was once upon a time. I do think that some of his earlier work was very valuable, whatever the motive. But right now his work is not valuable, alas.

  4. Now, now, he’s far from being my hero, but we got him at the edge of bankruptcy, denied him of any and all support from the West because of the credit card prohibition on donations and have him falsely accused of rape and you think is that surprising that he takes a job elsewhere? He’s only human.

    • It isn’t any job and it isn’t just elsewhere. He is going to serve the needs of a dictatorial regime run by the former KGB and that thinks the concept of freedom of speech is hilarious.

      Surely, there are other ways of making a living.

      • As Z points out, he’s not just trying to make a living, he’s trying to earn hundreds of thousands of pounds so he can pay his legal bills. If you can find him a job paying that much elsewhere, then you would see no more objections from my side.

        p.s. I fully share your distaste for the current Russian regime. Perhaps you can comment on how come Russians seem happier under a dictatorial regime such as Putin than under a free-er regime such as Yeltsin’s or dare it say it Gorbachev’s?

  5. I don’t see this as a defense of him, but I think he’s interested in more than cash. I think he’s looking for a place where he can hide if he can somehow get out of his legal problems in Sweden. He needs refuge in a country that doesn’t play nice with US authorities and that the CIA can’t send Predator drones into. Russia is one of the few places fitting that criterion–the CIA might send a drone to the Russian periphery, but no way can they send one to Moscow. And most of the countries on that list do not have particularly nice governments, so he’s going to have to be co-opted if he wants refuge.

    I’m not saying that what he’s doing is right, but I think it’s more than just money for him.

  6. I don’t think they’re hunting him with drones right now. I do, however, think that if he is able to escape from his legal problems and walk around a free man, he will meet a bad end. He has made a lot of powerful enemies. Not all of those enemies are in the US, but many are.

  7. Finally, as an analysis of motive, even if you don’t believe that the CIA would go after him, he is probably paranoid and believes it. Consequently, he feels like he needs to make powerful friends in a country that doesn’t play nice with US authorities.

  8. I wish Assange wasn’t so closely identified with WikiLeaks in the minds of the majority. I still think WikiLeaks is a cause worth supporting, but having been previously on the fence a bit about its current figurehead, have come round to your way of thinking on him. This only confirms my opinion on his self-aggrandizing ways – it may be possible to take tainted money and use it to good ends, but he is taking tainted money for doing something that is not a good end, and whatever he does with the money does not justify that.

    And frankly the people who are whinging about the rape charges being a CIA excuse to get him to Sweden so the US can extradite are talking rubbish, IMO given that the UK has a non-forward-extradition agreement with Sweden, and so the US would still have to negotiate with the UK to have him extradited – which is his current position anyway.

    Incidentally, re the rape charges; the UK is not a femi-nazi misandrist paradise as some commentators on the topic would seem to believe and either is Sweden; the evidence presented so far was enough to convince a pair of high court judges that equivalent charges would be laid in similar circumstances the UK, and his appeal is based solely on a point of law, not about whether the charges are justified.

      • “London”

        Oh my God that is awesome.

        See if the pubs around Victoria Station are still doing that “seven deadly sins” game. When I went [eight years ago :p] they had these drinks named after the sins, and if you bought one, they gave you a punch card. If you went to any participating pub and within like two weeks managed to try all seven drinks, they gave you a free pitcher of your choice. I liked Pride, which was blue and very fruity, but Envy was full of chocolate liqueur and creme de menthe, so we got that.

        Also check out the British Museum to see the fruits of centuries of colonial pillaging. Those Babylonian lammasus are badass and the Elgin Marbles are way better live than in pictures.

        PS yes it is true Assange sucks. I wanted very much to like him when he first popped up on the national stage all “I’m a revolutionary cyber hero” but everything he’s done and said since has revealed him to be self-satisfied, narcissistic scum.

      • Thank you for the suggestions!! We will only have 2 days in London, after which we will go to Berlin.

        And all this, courtesy of the IRS, that has given me a good tax return this year. :-)

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