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Dec. 19, 2010

The curious case of Julian Assange

by Mandy Xu, News and Entertainment editor
Let me make one thing clear. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a sleaze ball. Assange faced two separate sexual assault allegations, was jailed in the UK and was released with bail on Dec. 16. In a perfect world, he would serve more jail time for his actions, but hopefully the $315,000 hole in Mr. Assange's pocket serves as a reminder for next time.

While I have very little sympathy for slimy womanizers, I feel the espionage allegations against Assange are completely unjust. Fresh out of British courts, Assange might face the U.S. government, which has been angered by the Aussie's organization's recent release of 250,000 secret diplomatic cables. The US is fighting to indict Assange under the archaic Espionage Act from 1917.

Under the century old law, freedom of speech can be overruled if and only if there is a "clear and present danger." Although WikiLeaks released military documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these documents are hardly highly classified material. Some of the leaks shed the journalistic light on petty international mudslinging; some US diplomats called Nicolas Sarkozy "thin skinned" and "authoritarian."

Ultimately, there is no direct proof of the clear and present danger the WikiLeaks caused. Of course, some may argue that the names of certain Afghan aids to the U.S. were released. However, the information in these leaks was not the same caliber as that of the Pentagon Papers in the 1960s. Yet, the Washington Post printed a story containing highly confidential information about the Vietnam War. It is almost like comparing a sniper to an atomic bomb. These WikiLeaks simply are not important enough to garner espionage accusations.

Certainly, Assange should have left out the names of crucial agents to the U.S. He should have been more careful with the information presented to him. Due to his mistakes, the quality of reporting in WikiLeaks is so poor it cannot be considered a piece of journalism.

With a bit of fine tuning and proper management, WikiLeaks could be a major watchdog for the global community. There is a lot of potential there, and I hope Assange stays out of legal trouble long enough to tap into it.



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  • wikileaktweets (View Email) on December 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM
    There is no hole of 315,000 dollars in his pocket.. it was donated by other and will be returned to the donors if he plays by the rules
  • M on December 19, 2010 at 9:40 PM
    "...serves as a reminder for next time"? Are you serious? Julian Assange is not a "slimy womanizer," he's an accused rapist. If these allegations are found to be true (and the fact that so many out there are doubting and indeed harassing his accusers speaks to a culture of rape-apologism), he should serve serious jail time.

    • Wait, what? on January 22, 2011 at 6:45 AM
      Did you seriously just state that the fact that people doubt a rape accusation makes them rape apologists? I'm sorry, but while there's certainly something to be said for the rather ridiculous degree to which people are willing to defend the man, that statement is not only absurd but somewhat scary, too. Are we supposed to take an accusation of rape as a sacred thing now, which can't be doubted for fear of spreading a "culture of rape-apologism?" No. An accusation is an accusation, and last I checked it's innocent until proven guilty in every sane legal system in existence.
      • couldn't have agreed more on January 31, 2011 at 8:23 AM
        "M' is the reason why countries have due process, i'm sure he/she would have sent Julian Assange to jail right away.
  • Party_Animal_IV on December 19, 2010 at 10:14 PM
    He likes to tap into it.
  • observer on December 19, 2010 at 10:51 PM
    If this is written, as I think it is, by a teenager at a public school in the United States, I recommend the writer to finish school, graduate, attend university, graduate, get a job, travel around a bit, and then develop articulated views that reflect a more nuanced view of life. Life is not as black and white as it seems to you now.
  • Wowzerz on December 20, 2010 at 2:27 AM
    This is why people still don't take women seriously.

    "Let me make one thing clear. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a sleaze ball. Assange faced two separate sexual assault allegations, was jailed in the UK and was released with bail on Dec. 16. In a perfect world, he would serve more jail time for his actions, but hopefully the $315,000 hole in Mr. Assange's pocket serves as a reminder for next time."

    A) He hasn't been charged with anything and since when has allegations lead to automatic truth? I accuse you of being a raging feminazi with a grudge against men. Does that make it automatically true? Maybe we should go to court and find out.

    B) In your perfect world people go to prison for extended periods of time based off allegations that provide little to no stable evidence? Very nice :)
    • Scooby on December 23, 2010 at 8:59 AM
      BAHAHAHA Thank you for saying this!!
  • Newell Knox (View Email) on December 20, 2010 at 3:36 AM
    Assange is not a sleazeball. The Swedes looked at the rape charges, realized they were fiction, told him to go on his merry way. Suddenly the United States told Sweden to get him back, and a second rate Prosecutor in 9th largest town in Sweden is trying to get him back. Strangely, the best prosecutor in the Largest city in Sweden, released him after questioning. The charges stink to high heaven to anyone with a brain.
  • troll on December 21, 2010 at 2:32 PM
    trolololol
    some people need to chill out.
  • M on December 22, 2010 at 8:57 AM
    Is the timing of the rape accusations suspicious? Yes. Of course. Absolutely. But here's the thing-- two women accused Julian Assange of rape. Rape charges must be taken seriously. Always. So often when allegations like this are brought up against someone liked by the general public, the accusers are harassed or threatened. If these women are lying, then they deserve the weight of the law on their heads. But until that hypothetical day, these women deserve respect. It is possible to maintain suspicion about the situation as a whole while being compassionate towards two women who very well may have been raped.
    • couldn't have agreed more on January 31, 2011 at 8:29 AM
      Both the victims and the accused deserve compassion and should not be judged...
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