Sunday, October 24, 2010


This weekend, WikiLeaks released over 400,000 classified documents of the Iraq War detailing genuinely horrific facts about massive civilian death, U.S. complicity in widespread Iraqi torture, systematic government deceit over body counts, and the slaughter of civilians by American forces about which Daniel Ellsberg himself said, as the New York Times put it: "many of the civilian deaths there could be counted as murder."

Predictably, just as happened with [Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel] Ellsberg, there is now a major, coordinated effort underway to smear WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, and to malign his mental health -- all as a means of distracting attention away from these highly disturbing revelations and to impede the ability of WikiLeaks to further expose government secrets and wrongdoing with its leaks. But now, the smear campaign is led not by Executive Branch officials, but by members of the establishment media.


Yesterday, Assange walked out of an interview with CNN, which he thought had been arranged to discuss the significance of the Iraq War revelations, because the CNN "reporter" seemed interested in asking only about petty, vapid rumors about Assange himself, not the substance of the leaks.


But the low point of this smear campaign was led by The New York Times' John Burns, who authored a sleazy hit piece on Assange -- filled with every tawdry, scurrilous tabloid rumor about him -- that was (and still is) prominently featured in the NYT, competing for attention with the stories about the leaked documents themselves, and often receiving more attention.


Apparently, faced with hundreds of thousands of documents vividly highlighting stomach-turning war crimes and abuses -- death squads and widespread torture and civilian slaughter all as part of a war he admired for years and which his newspaper did more than any other single media outlet to enable -- John Burns and his NYT editors decided that the most pressing question from this leak is this: what's Julian Assange really like?


Focusing on the tabloid aspects of Assange's personal life can have no effect -- and no purpose -- other than to distract public attention away from the heinous revelations about this war and America's role in it, and to cripple WikiLeaks' ability to secure and disseminate future leaks.

  Glenn Greenwald

And it will ever be thus. And in this manner, the real news, the important information, will never get major mainstream coverage. Welcome to the real New World Order.

Now, who wants that interview?

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