Mike Hosking: Julian Assange is a puffed up criminal, not a journalist

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Feb 2020, 3:48PM

Mike Hosking: Julian Assange is a puffed up criminal, not a journalist

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Feb 2020, 3:48PM

I suppose poor old Julian Assange has got nothing better to do.

I mean, where would you rather be? In a British court arguing you shouldn’t be dragged off to America, or in a jail in America wondering if you'll ever taste freedom again?

This was always going to end up here of course. It would have ended up here a lot sooner if it hadn't been for the fact he scarpered into the Ecuadorian embassy in London and spent years wasting away and costing authorities a fortune.

And in his scarpering was, of course, the acceptance that despite what his lawyers are busy arguing at the moment, he knows full well that what he did was against the law.

Now, he may have convinced himself it’s all for the bigger and wider good. He may well have convinced himself and indeed have that backed up by the words and actions of his supporters ranging from the luvvies of Belgravia to the simple sandwiches made for him by Pamela Anderson.

He may have convinced himself he's some sort of hero. But no amount of imagination or indeed self-aggrandisement lets you escape the long arm of the law.

And even having dispatched the pesky Swedes and their desire to have a word over sexual activity, he now faces the ultimate comeuppance: the Americans who aren't finding any of this funny and take their national security extremely seriously.

Where those who support Assange have gone so badly off the rails is they have decided acting illegally or putting national security and the lives of others at risk is somehow acceptable practice in pursuit of what they would loosely call 'journalism'.

We saw it in Australia last year when the feds raided the ABC looking for documents over potential terror activity. The feds argued lives were in danger, Australia was in danger. The ABC argued we have a right to protect sources, and that right trumps everything else. They were wrong. They went to court to challenge the warrant, and they lost last week.

Assange will lose in London too. As the Americans have already pointed out, whistle blowers and informants, when the papers were leaked, suddenly found their safety and lives at risk. Some have disappeared, the Americans could not get to them in time to offer safety or help.

You simply can't take stolen information and use it the way Assange has. You simply can’t be Chelsea Manning and decide, for whatever warped reason drives you, to steal what isn't yours, betray the promises you made to your employers and run your own programme for whatever deluded good you think it will bring.

Manning has been to prison, let out early of course by Obama. Snowden is still in hiding in Russia. And Assange is banged up in Belmarsh.

And ask yourself, what good came of their actions? None. They're pariahs. Whatever dastardly deeds they claim to have exposed, have not changed or changed a thing. It's been an illegal, futile exercise masquerading under the guise of journalism. There was no journalism, not proper journalism. They are puffed up criminals, and nothing more.