It is hypocrisy of the kind only the Left could ever countenance, and it’s all a far cry from the heady days of those first document dumps. Which incidentally came not as the result of investigative journalism or cunning on the part of Assange, but courtesy of the treachery of Private First Class Bradley Manning. Wikileaks has since faded from the headlines and is said to be on the verge of collapse, and Assange has become more adept at blowing his own trumpet than blowing whistles.
Last Sunday, Assange decided it was time the world heard from him again. Amid farcical scenes, he appeared on the balcony of his refuge to demand the United States call off its “witch hunt” against himself and Wikileaks. Diplaying his customary flair for the portentous, Assange asked:
[Will the United States] affirm the revolutionary values it was founded on … or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?
For the time being, Assange remains in legal and diplomatic limbo. The British government caused a stir by suggesting it could revoke the embassy’s diplomatic status in order to seize him, although it is unlikely to do so given the precedent it would set. Unless his hosts manage to smuggle him past the watching police in a rolled-up rug and spirit him to South America, it seems that Assange will remain in the embassy for as long as his new friends will tolerate him, unless he decides that he can somehow turn facing the music in Sweden to his advantage.
With Assange exposed as a coward, a hypocrite, and a narcissist in the eyes of all but his most blinded supporters (a few hard-core British leftists continue to downplay the charges against him and belittle his alleged victims); with the journalists who once danced to his tune having disowned him over his increasing recklessness and his disregard for the safety of individuals compromised by his activities; and with his organization in disarray, this seems a good time to reflect on the whole Wikileaks phenomenon, and to assess how the grandiose claims made by the group and its admirers have held up.