The Only Mistake: On the claim WikiLeaks became a personality-centred vehicle for self-aggrandizement

by Lexander Magazine Editorial Staff

Of all the allegations, accusations, and attacks against WikiLeaks, the one that tops our list of the most absurd is the highly asinine claim that the organisation at some point became a vehicle dominated by the personality of Julian Assange for his own self-aggrandizement.

Now, when you read anything critical or defamatory about WikiLeaks and/or Julian Assange, it’s somewhat similar to the experience of dealing with one of those standard neurotic Wikipedia “editors” with whom it is almost incomprehensibly impossible to have a civil, intelligent conversation with and who likely has an entire gang of other neurotics backing up their insanity, thus maintaining their hegemony over the article in question. For those of you who’ve never edited, or attempted to edit Wikipedia back at its peak, which was between 2004 and 2007—at which point its population of problem editors had begun to reach critical mass—veterans of the First and Second Waves of Edit Wars* can testify as to the sheer level of absurdity that has since led to a massive depopulation of sane and credible editors, so much so that from the vantage point of an editor, Wikipedia has become a ghost town, with thousands upon thousands of abandoned and largely incomprehensible articles. Even the once vaunted medical and scientific articles have begun to fray into stagnation and error.

In a similar manner, whereas in the beginning the media and counterculture response to WikiLeaks was mostly positive, after the Chelsea Manning leaks, much of this changed. Almost out of the blue, quite suddenly, WikiLeaks was now a dangerous, reactionary organisation being cultivated as a personality cult around its Fearless Leader, Julian Assange. So, when WikiLeaks was going after religious institutions (which actually came about as a result of the early open editing nature of the MediaWiki-based WikiLeaks website) and corporate corruption, everything was hunky dory. When WikiLeaks started exposing criminal, murderous actions perpetuated by the US military in Iraq, mainstream journalists began to shift uncomfortably in their armchairs, but still supportive enough to encourage Assange to continue. And then came forth what would quickly become the game changer in the history of journalism, what we refer to as the Triradial Leaks: the Afghan War documents, Iraq War documents, and the mother lode that brought it all together, the US Diplomatic Cables. We use the term “triradial” because these three series of leaks each radiated forth in three different directions, but ultimately converging into their final destination with the final set of leaks, colloquially known as “Cablegate.”

The most alarming attacks and scathing criticisms against WikiLeaks came not from the mainstream liberal and neoconservative media (both of which differ very little except in the fact that neocons are more insidiously authoritarian and fascistic), because the various calls from mainstream pundits and politicos to murder Assange in cold blood and have Chelsea Manning and other so-called “traitors” executed were to be expected. They are all stupidly predictable. No, the most alarming attacks came from certain elements within the leftist and libertarian spectrums, stoked by saboteurs within the WikiLeaks organisation such as Daniel Dumbshite Berg (yes, yes, we know, but this is essentially a more or less correct translation and plus, we’re tired of all this unnecessary politeness when Assange has been a virtual prisoner in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for what will be two years now this June, and Chelsea Manning has become the world’s most oppressed and tortured political prisoner—in the United States—because of people like Dumbshit Berg and Adrian “Lickspittle” Lamo who are living exceedingly well and in perfect comfort and safety at the expense of the taxpayers in their respective countries) and others in the mainstream media, most notoriously Nick Davies of The Guardian whose appalling behaviour and actions against Assange make him the most hypocritical and self-serving journo since Michael Moore stupidly began portraying Canada (like the UK and Germany, an even more authoritarian surveillance state than the US) as some kind of democratic utopia—and have we got stories about gross violations of human rights and dignity under both the Stephen Harper and Jean Chretien regimes.

Now, here’s the thing. Such an accusation, this thing about WikiLeaks becoming some sort of domineering personality cult—the personality being Julian Assange—was totally inevitable and expected. In fact, we would have been surprised if such an accusation had never come to be leveled against the organisation. It isn’t a bad thing, but what we would consider a necessary “growing pain,” such as it were, because that is precisely what it is. For years and years Assange toiled under virtual obscurity, completely unknown to the mainstream and even to many in the so-called underground. Intelligence agencies the world over knew about him, as did many cryptographers, a smattering of computer scientists, mathematicians, and a few other ivory tower academics. When Assange’s lifelong work finally culminated in a project that caught widespread attention, it took the mainstream by storm and as soon as that wildfire was triggered, he had crossed the Rubicon and from that moment would never be left alone, not by the media, and sure as hell not by governments—not even those states that may very well be empathetic towards him, considering the fact that ultimately, no government can ever be fully trusted or counted upon.

Thus, when a new and radical activist organisation starts to get attacked out of the bluewithout any plausible evidence whatsoever to back up such allegations and relying solely upon bitter, jealously ridden testimonies of former comrades and pro-establishment enemiesas a personality cult, you can be damn sure that not only has a serious nerve been struck, but that the organisation in question is considered an existential threat to the status quo.

How so?

Imagine, if you will, what would happen if all of a sudden, all the world’s financial markets (as in privately manipulated “public” stock, commodities, and currency markets) collapsed at the same time as every single international banking institution due to catastrophic leaks of all their innermost secrets, leaks that directly reveal weaknesses that could be exploited in order to bring the whole global economic system down and erase virtually all records in every sector where databases are inextricably linked to public and private networks, including the Internet as a whole—this means just about every major field and industry.

If this sounds crazy to the average layman on the street, it absolutely does not to your average politician, statesperson, intelligence operative, and threat analyst—most, if not all, would agree that the above scenario is possible, and in their own private circles, believe it is inevitable and will at some point occur. These people do not sleep well at night, most not at all. The worst job a person could have in this world of deceit and deception is that of being involved in statecraft, whether as a president, prime minister, royal sovereign, legislator, military official, spymaster, or any of the other myriad positions that only a sadist or masochist or combination thereof would be able to thrive in and enjoy. In our day and age, it no longer surprises citizens—in any country—when some politico gets outed as a pervert, sex criminal or worse. The Internet, this global surveillance regime developed and continually manipulated by the US military-industrial complex and its allies beyond its Cold War roots, has backfired and backfired royally in their faces, and will continue to backfire—it will be the very undoing of the globalist totalitarian dystopia that our leaders envision for our future.

According to Friedrich Nietzsche, that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. The more something that is good, righteous and legitimate is attacked, the stronger it becomes. As the saying goes, it took centuries to build Rome, but as it drowned in its own hedonism, decadence and corruption, it didn’t take long to burn down in flames and perish forever in its own figurative perdition as recorded in the annals of history.

Watergate and the Pentagon Papers weren’t enough to convince the masses that the “Free World” doesn’t exist, that it was all just an illusion. Neither was the aftermath of collapse of the Berlin Wall and the consequent dismantling of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia—Slovenian artists Laibach once stated that the East fell for the lies of the West and all of them have been paying the price ever since. Decades after the Soviet collapse, Russians have finally become fed up with the endless barrage of Western-inspired and instigated corruption, hedonism, oligarchy, pornography, terrorism (fueled by Western-allied Salafist regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait), rapes, murders and serial killers (which, while commonplace in Western states, were rare to nonexistent in the East Bloc), and all the other social ills that the citizens of the former East Bloc didn’t sign up for.

It must be stated that any organisation, to be successful, must be led by either a charismatic individual or a collective represented by a charismatic individual. In other words, there is no getting around it—human beings instinctively respond to charisma. They do not respond well to collective leaderships or groupthink. Where collectives have been successful—the best example thus far in history being the Swiss Confederation—they are led by actual leaders with individually distinct personalities that the diverse populace can relate to, listen to and trust. Charisma communicates. Groupthink alienates.

When compared to other pro-transparency and anti-authoritarian activists, Julian Assange has made very few mistakes and played the game against totalitarian surveillance very well. But like Steve Jobs, he made only one mistake: he trusted the wrong guy. For Steve Jobs, it was John Sculley. For Julian Assange, it was Daniel Berg. Jobs, from the very beginning, was competent enough to lead and direct his own organisation—he simply didn’t know it. Like Neo, he had to learn how to believe in himself and in his innate abilities. After some altercations and disagreements in Iceland with Berg, during the Kaupthing leaks in 2009, Assange should have dumped Berg right then and there. Aspiring activists would be wise to take heed of the early phase of WikiLeaks and how someone as insidiously deceitful and manipulative as Berg and his associates could so effectively derail WikiLeaks. Were it not for the sheer tenacity and determination of Assange and the few people in his circle that stuck by him, the organisation would never have survived.

Julian Assange was always the very best spokesperson WikiLeaks ever needed. We’ve said it before and frankly, It can never be stated enough: the world needs organisations like WikiLeaks and people like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden because they refuse to give up, their personalities are wired to never stop fighting the status quo, and they are fearless in the face of adversity and authoritarianism.

Of these three, Chelsea Manning has been hit the hardest and despite enduring in the most abysmal conditions one could ever imagine in a supposedly civilised and “free” country as the United States, she is thriving and refuses to back down. Chelsea Manning is, to our minds, one of the most amazing figures in the history of humankind for the incredible fact that the government and military of the most powerful global superpower of all time—the United States of America—are so mortally terrified of this person that they dare not murder or execute her, the law of unintended consequences being what it is.

Make of that what you will.


* (including those veterans of the Perpetual Edit Wars of Total Fail, such as, for example, the conflict between those editors who endlessly argued about whether or not Julia Gillard is an atheist, which descended into even more stupidly useless debates about whether atheism can be considered as a religion or not, ultimately leading to an existential debate about life, the universe, and everything, and the conclusion—if it could be called as such—seemed to be some sort of consensus that Gillard may, in fact, be some sort of reptilian alien in cahoots with her extraterrestrial overlord, Rupert Murdoch. In retrospect, they may have been right.)

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