Calvin Freiburger

WikiLeaks: Varadarajan Smacks Down the “Puffed-Up Pimp”

Posted on July 29 2010 1:00 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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Only one of the men in this image is a hero. Guess who?

With his bloodless, sallow face, his lank hair drained of all color, his languorous, very un-Australian limbs, and his aura of blinding pallor that appears to admit no nuance, Assange looks every inch the amoral, uber-nerd villain, icily detached from the real world of moral choices in which the rest of us saps live. Call him the Unaleaker, with apologies to the victims of Ted Kaczynski.

Dang. With an opening like that, you know the Daily Beast’s Tunku Varadarajan isn’t gonna pull any punches in taking down WikiLeaks head honcho Julian Assange.

For leaking secret military information, Assange is hailed by the usual suspects as an antiwar hero, taking the shine off of the propaganda of powerful warmongers and standing bravely against the Left’s simplistic boogeyman version of “censorship.” Varadarajan doesn’t buy it:

But watching Assange wallow in the attention that has followed his voluminous data dump, one is struck by his strut, his hubris, his palpable vainglory. “I enjoy crushing bastards,” he crowed to Der Spiegel, one of the publications favored with the right to publish his dubiously acquired material. “The most dangerous men are those who are in charge of war,” he harrumphed. “And they need to be stopped.”

This last statement only partly answers a question that has been troubling America for some days: What does Assange want? He doesn’t like war, it is clear, so war must be “stopped.” But in his various pronouncements since the leaks were published, in his ramblings in response to questions from bona fide journalists, he has revealed no trace of humility, professed not even a sliver of doubt, accepted not one utterance that would challenge his own convictions and certitudes. The dream state of his own omniscience has remained entirely unimpaired.

So the guy’s biased, arrogant, and closed-minded. But at least he’s doing something important, right? Wrong. Here’s where his hubris turns deadly:

When asked at a London press conference whether he thought his leaks would compromise national security, Assange’s “visibly annoyed” response (per this report) stripped bare the adamantly adversarial quality of his mind-set: “You often hear that something may be a threat to U.S. national security. This must be shot down, whenever this statement is made.”

Whenever this statement is made”? There are no circumstances under which the reveal of sensitive information could imperil the nation?

For the security of the numerous Afghan informants who work with U.S. troops, he cares not a jot. As The Times of London has pointed out, hundreds of names of such local collaborators in the war effort can be found in the documents in the WikiLeaks archive, including details of their villages. How does Assange justify putting these people at mortal risk? Predictably, he does not, taking refuge behind a weasel-worded insistence that he and his team had edited the material so that there was “harm minimization,” a morally teasing phrase that might, so ironically, be part of the Pentagon’s own lexicon.

Typical far-left morality: Sure, a few little people might be crushed along the way, but there’s the greater goal of my fame world peace at stake! You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, right?

Varadarajan points out that risking civilian lives isn’t the only trick up Assange’s sleeve – that he first came to fame when WikiLeaks released footage doctored to make American soldiers look like indiscriminate murderers. He makes a great comparison to the media uproar over Andrew Breitbart’s release of incomplete footage that apparently showed USDA official Shirley Sherrod talking up discrimination against white farmers. Though Varadarajan’s language should be more charitable to Breitbart’s intentions, the double-standard is unmistakable: if you are unwilling to condemn a man who edits footage to make American soldiers look like monsters, you have no moral standing whatsoever to complain about a man who released unedited-but-incomplete footage that paints a single bureaucrat in a negative light, and by doing the latter without the former, you forfeit any degree of public trust. And Assange himself? Varadarajan nails it:

Our aversion to Assange and his ways—to his posturing, gaudy psuedo-insurgency—need not be expressed in ways prosecutorial. Let us, instead, shower him with our most basic contempt, and dismiss him as the fraud that he is. WikiLeaks is a brothel of self-promotion, Assange its puffed-up pimp.


Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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