The law can be used in a number of ways if there is the political will to…There is a history of abusing the legal process.
– Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks
There’s a history of abusing the media and public opinion, too. Assange happens to be a pro at it. But you won’t learn that in Philip Shenon’s interview with him for The Daily Beast. The two discuss the new Afghanistan “carnage” video Assange claims he’ll release, and how the US government’s displeasure over the news has compelled Assange to take hiding overseas, just to be on the safe side:
“I’m in good health and good spirits,” Assange said in the telephone interview from Brussels, where he appeared Monday at an anti-censorship conference sponsored by European lawmakers. It was his first in-person appearance at a public event since the disclosure of Manning’s arrest. “I have not been concerned for my safety or the safety of our volunteers.”
While refusing again to say if [Bradley] Manning was a source for WikiLeaks, Assange said today that he is far more concerned about Manning’s security than his own.
“One of our alleged sources is apparently detained in Kuwait, and that’s a serious situation,” Assange said.
He said Manning should be labeled “a national hero” if he indeed proved to be the whistleblower who was the site’s source of the 2009 combat video from Afghanistan, as well as 2007 video already posted online by WikiLeaks of a deadly American airstrike in Baghdad. “He would be no ordinary hero,” Assange said of Manning.
Assange said he feared Manning was being denied adequate legal representative by the Defense Department. The Pentagon has said little about Manning, except that he is being held on unspecified charges and has been assigned a military defense lawyer.
Free speech, apparent selflessness, concern for a poor soldier whose conscience has set him on a collision course with the powerful military establishment … Assange’s song and dance has all the right tear-jerking elements to make the media swoon, and Shenon laps it right up.
The truth is different.