Saturday, December 11, 2010


There's a neat post over at Pure Poison detailing an attempt by “” to beat up a story about Wikileaks boss Julian Assange as being a modern-day “James Bond villain.”

Apparently Julian Blofeld has an underground headquarters (as in You Only Live Twice) where “all” ... no, beg pardon, just “some” of the Wikileaks documents “are” ... beg pardon, “have been” secreted.

The story features an image of the interior of Assange’s “suspended conference room”, furnished with an apparatus looking very much like Maxwell Smart’s Cone of Silence. It’s all very sinisterly futuristic, and one can almost see Assange sitting devotedly stroking his favourite fluffy, overweight feline.

Not surpringly, the story attracts ... beg pardon, has attracted comments from readers who wonder whether Assange is the anti-christ predicted by Nostradamus.

One might hope Rupert’s campaign for "responsible journalism" may have some effect — on their shop.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wikipissing in the Murdoch media

For all its trilling about the “irresponsible” publication of “sensitive” documents by Wikileaks, it has to be said that the Murdoch media doesn’t hesitate to use those documents to serve its own ‘editorial’ purposes.

For instance, while Andrew Bolt — our own Doctor Easychair — has not been shy about condemning  Wikileaks and its chief Julian Assange, he’s been equally quick to expropriate Wikileaks material when it supports his views on perennial hate-object Kevin Rudd.

So too with an unattributed op-ed piece today in The Australian, which takes the leaked cables about Rudd as vindicating — and indeed confirming the rectitude of — the paper’s long-time critical stance against the former Rudd Government.

The narrative of Mr Rudd’s chaotic government would be familiar to readers of The Australian, which began reporting on the emerging problems of the Rudd administration in mid-2008. Our sources, named and un-named, included senior public servants, politicians and diplomats. More than five months after the caucus revolt that brought an end to a regime Mr Rudd’s deputy argued had lost its way, these facts were finally reported yesterday on the front pages of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, which gleaned its information from US diplomatic cables dropped by WikiLeaks.

Though not wholly unexpected, it’s unfortunate that the writer of this piece has conflated purported “facts” with what are, after all, opinions based on subjective assessments.

Whether the assessments are those of “sources, named and un-named,” or of hapless de-cloaked US diplomats — and whether one agrees or disagrees with those assessments — they remain as opinions, not facts. Not withstanding that assessments and opinions, when repeated often and loudly enough, can reify to become factoids.

For my own assessment of The Oz’s self-serving and self-aggrandising piece here, I can only conclude the paper has enlisted our friend Doctor Easychair to help write its op-eds.

As for our good Doctor, one might wonder whether he’s half-expecting a smoking-gun revelation that “Kevin Rudd gave aid to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe” in the next tranche of Wikileaks.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Stop Press: Abbott says lawbreakers should be prosecuted

I presume that the US government is going after the people who provided information to Assange. As for Assange, if he’s broken the law he should be prosecuted.

Thus opined Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott on the ABC’s Insiders program. Mr Abbott’s remaining statements on the topic of the Wikileaks controversy went on to drive home what he evidently considers a winning formula:

Well, as I said, if he’s broken the law he should be prosecuted. That’s what should happen. ... Well that’s up to the relevant authorities. If he's broken the law he should be prosecuted.

Well, it would be most unusual for a politician to profess that lawbreakers should not be prosecuted.

But Mr Abbott, like his opposite number Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was unable to say which law(s) Julian Assange is alleged to have broken, thus completing a deuce set of apparent cluelessness in Canberra.

Moreover, being in lock-step with US policy on the dreaded Wikileaks ‘threat,’ the Gillard-Abbott bipartisan chorus might also play well with US negotiators in Australia’s horse-trading for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Readers may recall how, the last time an Australian government prostrated itself before US policy demands, forty US trade negotiators filed into Australia on the eve of the Iraq War to hammer out the vaunted Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, which in the end delivered bugger all of any real benefit to Australia.

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