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Assange And Žižek, A Kind Request.

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Slavoj Žižek and Julian Assange recently conducted a session for the Frontline club and it is on YouTube, below.

Astute readers may have noticed that I am not blogging much at the moment, life’s a bit complicated and particularly like today, I don’t have much brain.

So I have a kind request to make of my readers. Could they, if they have the stamina, view the video and provide me with a summary (I’m happy to get several from different readers)? Ta very much.

A Question For Julian Assange At Hay on Wye.

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Julian Assange will be appearing at the Hay on Wye festival on Saturday 4 June 2011, 2.30pm, Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage.

Apparently, Assange is taking questions at hay@telegraph.co.uk.

Rosie has submitted a good one, it deserves an answer. Not sure if Assange will have the guts to reply on this particular topic:

“[To Julian Assange] What is your relationship with Israel Shamir? In a statement to Private Eye Wikileaks said that Israel Shamir has never been an “agent” of Wikileaks, and generally minimises your relationship.

Could you please explain then the recent article on the Swedish anti-fascist site Expo which stated that you had been in contact with him to recommend potential associates in Sweden for analysing the Wikileaks data.

In an interview with Agora Vox you have echoed his own view of himself that he is persecuted like Salman Rushdie and according to a Panorama programme you emailed him, going along with one of his aliases “Adam” and describing his work as “strong and compassionate”.

Do you still hold that view of Shamir and his writing?

Closer Links: Julian Assange And The Far Rightist, Israel Shamir.

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Rosie has provided an invaluable link to the Swedish ant-fascist site, Expose.se.

They have information showing that Julian Assange’s links to the Far Rightist, Israel Shamir, are much closer and more extensive than had been first thought.

Readers will remember how the BBC had a confidential email exchange between the two, which indicated a friendly relationship, with Assange suggesting Shamir might use an alias to hide his connection to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks’ subsequent statement on Israel Shamir was decidedly unsatisfactory. Basically, they said he was just another journalist and they treated him as such.

However, it is clear from the Expose.se article that Wikileaks’ response was very far from the truth.

Below is an extract taken from the Expo magazine and a Google translation from the original Swedish, which is not perfect but sufficient to explain the issues:

“Cooperation between Julian Assange and the Swedish anti-Semite Israel Shamir is denser than previously stated. Expo has taken note of several emails that show that Assange Shamir asked for help to build Wikileaks Swedish network.

According to Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson traded contacts between Julian Assange and Israel Shamir on a project.

– We have not checked the political and personal views of the thousands of journalists we worked with, “he told the Expo.

But e-mails as part of the Expo has shown that cooperation lasted for years. Back in 2008, Shamir was asked to provide proposals to potential partners in Sweden.

Shamir responds by proposing his son, John Wahl, without mentioning anything about their relationship:

“He is a Swedish citizen, living in Sweden. Probably he will be able to advise you on press freedom – in the journal [tornado / red.anm.] Is startling revelations about the media assaults.”

In an email dated June 2010 shows that Shamir and Assange still had a role in Wikileaks Swedish network .. “Tell the team to be prepared; Health them from me: We have much work to do,” writes Assange in response to Shamir. “

Again, the points are:

  • There was an email exchange between Israel Shamir and Wikileaks.
  • That exchange dates back three years, to 2008.
  • Shamir was asked by Wikileaks to suggest potential partners in Sweden.
  • Assange was communicating with Shamir as late as June 2010 concerning Wikileaks in Sweden.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    Bickering, Assange And Wikleaks.

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    I hadn’t realised it but apparently there is a lot of bickering behind the recent leaks on Gitmo:

    “The fight over who had what when, and was supposed to use it how, is leading to some especially hard feelings, including between folks who once got along. The gist seemed to be, “Is there no decency anymore?” Over here we have Wikileaks (presumably Julian Assange), tweeting annoyance over former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s alleged sneakiness.
    “Domschiet, NYT, Guardian, attempted Gitmo spoiler against our 8 group coalition,” tweeted the Wikileaks account. “We had intel on them and published first.” And over there we have Pentagon press secretary and former NBC correspondent Geoff Morrell complaining about the New York Times’ Easter offensive. “Thx to Wikileaks we spent Easter weekend dealing w/NYT & other news orgs publishing leaked classified GTMO docs,” Morrell tweeted earlier today.

    That Wikileaks earns the sarcastic thanks in Morrell’s account, considering that Times executive editor Bill Keller says in Calderone’s piece that “WikiLeaks is not our source.” But I guess it’s still a bit easier and less relationship damaging for the Pentagon to go after Assange and company than Keller and his team. “

    Michael Calderone at HuffPost covers it too.

    TPM LiveWire seems to get to the nub of the issue:

    “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's reputation as a fighter for transparency and destroyer of secrets ought to be thoroughly demolished by today’s spectacle of the New York Times literally forcing him to give up the Guantanamo Bay files he’d been hoarding for months.

    Assange has been sitting on the 700-plus Gitmo detainee files since at least May of last year, when accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning confessed in a chat session to passing them to Wikileaks along with a plethora of classified military reports and diplomatic cables. They were the final sizable arrow in Assange’s anti-government quiver, and for months we’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for their inevitable release. But Assange kept holding back.

    They were published last night, at long last, only because the New York Times finagled its own copy–presumably from Wikileaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg–and shared it with NPR and the Guardian. Wikileaks, which had been working with the Washington Post and other papers on the Gitmo papers but was still keeping the information embargoed, scrambled to get its own version up. “

    Update 1: Lest I forget, the NY times a good piece, a History of the Detainee Population.

    Julian Assange at Kensingston Town Hall.

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    The New Statesman failed to organise Live Streaming of their recent event with Julian Assange and couldn’t even get themselves organise to put it on YouTube.

    Still, someone has done the job for them.

    The clip below is just Assange, more might turn up later, but it is funny that the British media go on and on about ‘new media’ ‘Internet 2.0’, Twitter, and other buzz words they clearly don’t understand, yet they don’t have the wherewithal to upload a simple video to YouTube, how useless.

    Update 1: Read more of the New Statesman’s self congratulatory guff at:

    This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place: Part I

    This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place: Part II

    Julian Assange, Secrets And The Metropolitan Elite.

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    It is very hard in the Internet age to keep a secret, as Wikileaks have shown. Someone will normally release a document or better still an incriminating video, and then the whole world knows.

    YouTube is replete with every form of embarrassing video clip known to humanity, and then some.

    However, if you were to look for a video clip of Julian Assange’s latest outing at the Kensington Town Hall, you won’t find anything, yet.

    Not only that, but if you weren’t part of the Metropolitan Elites, a New Statesman reader or an interested media type then you probably wouldn’t know it was actually going on, in the first place.

    If you did make it, then entry would cost you £20, concessions costing £15.00, not cheap in the age of austerity.

    Hunting around assiduously you might find a slightly incoherent page on the New Statesman which purports to be live blogging, but it is next to impossible to follow the debate between Julian Assange and Douglas Murray, etc

    Certainly, from the photos it seems to be well attended, by the Metropolitan Elites, but that doesn’t help anyone outside of London wanting to follow the debate.

    I would speculate that the New Statesman might have considered doing Live Streaming during the planning of this event, as it is cheap and easy to do, but could have been overruled by a paranoid Julian Assange?

    I say that as Assange has a bit of a track record with this type of behaviour. When doing the rounds in Cambridge and sucking up to the would-be elites Assange forbade video recording when he spoke.

    It is all rather peculiar, all rather 1950s, keeping discussions within a self selecting few and restricting information on the wider issues.

    Readers might think that goes against the ethos of Wikileaks, but it’s hardly surprising, those who have power and control, however, small it is, will often abuse and use it for their own ends. Julian Assange and the Metropolitan Elites are no different in that respect.

    Still, I am not sure that Julian Assange or his hosts have a sufficiently well developed sense of irony to see the problem with their own conduct!

    Who knows, perhaps, someone will secretly release a bootleg video of the event?

    Update 1: Esther Addley adds more:

    “But the political commentator Douglas Murray, director of the centre for social cohesion, challenged Assange over the website’s sources of funding, its staffing and connections with the Holocaust denier Israel Shamir, who has worked with the site.

    “What gives you the right to decide what should be known or not? Governments are elected. You, Mr Assange are not.”

    Murray also challenged the WikiLeaks founder over an account in a book by Guardian writers David Leigh and Luke Harding, in which the authors quote him suggesting that if informants were to be killed following publication of the leaks, they “had it coming to them”.

    Assange repeated an earlier assertion that the website “is in the process of suing the Guardian” over the assertion, and asked if Murray would like to “join the queue” of organisations he was suing.

    The Guardian has not received any notification of such action from WikiLeaks or its lawyers.

    Jason Cowley, the editor of the New Statesman and chair of the debate, interjected to ask: “How can the great champion of open society be using our libel laws to challenge the press?” “

    Julian Assange In L’Espresso.

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    The Italian and Internet readers of L’Espresso had the chance to question Julian Assange, a bit.

    I haven’t read it but it might contain something interesting, please let me know if you find any nuggets.

    Still, I wonder if we will ever get a full answer as to the communications and links between Assange and Israel Shamir, the Far Rightist.

    Written by modernityblog

    31/03/2011 at 01:07

    Israel Shamir, Assange And Srebrenica.

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    Marko Attila Hoare has written a superb post on Anti-Semitism, racism and Srebrenica genocide denial, here’s an extract:

    “Srebrenica denial and anti-Semitism frequently go hand in hand. The anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and associate of Julian Assange who goes by the name of ‘Israel Shamir’ is a Srebrenica denier and has written ‘Many war atrocity stories are just stories – from Srebrenica to Kosovo “killing fields”, from Saddam Hussein’s WMD to Belgian babies on German bayonets of the WWI, from Kuwait’s incubator to anti-communist inventions of the Black Book.’ Shamir was one of a group of Srebrenica deniers, including Edward S. Herman and Diana Johnstone, who wrote an open letter to the Serbian parliament calling on them not to recognise the Srebrenica massacre.

    This is the original open letter, Appeal To President Boris Tadić And The Serbian Parliament: Do Not Gamble With Your Country’s Future! No To The Srebrenica Resolution.

    The letter is debunked here.

    BBC’s Panorama, Julian Assange And Israel Shamir.

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    There was a recent Panorama programme on BBC 1, WikiLeaks: The Secret Story and towards the end of it is an interesting bit about Julian Assange and his association with Israel Shamir.

    This shorten clip on Youtube is the last 6:40 minutes of the programme, and from 01:40 you will hear about specific deals which Julian Assange was making on his own, without telling others at Wikileaks.

    One such deal was with Israel Shamir, well-known Far Rightist and active antisemite, 02:10 into the clip.

    Assange had been warned about Shamir, but didn’t seem too troubled when dealing with this renowned Holocaust denier.

    Later on in the clip you will hear the contents of an email between Assange and Shamir, where he says:

    “Dear Israel/Adam,

    Someone wrote saying they refuse to associate with an organisation that would work with an antisemite like Israel Shamir.

    From a brief sampling of your writing I did not find the allegation born out. ”

    [Assange then makes the suggestion that Shamir write under an alias.]

    Watch it, listen to Shamir’s weird and racist views and then wonder why Julian Assange couldn’t find much wrong with him.

    Read Seachlight’s article from 2004 on Shamir.

    (H/T: Rosie)

    Update 1: Some previous posts on Shamir, etc:

    Conspiracies, The CIA And The Racist, Israel Shamir.

    Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

    Assange And Tales of Jewish Conspiracies?

    The Antisemite Israel Shamir and Wikileaks, Telling Lies.

    Update 2: Martin Bright asks some good questions:

    “Ian Hislop did not have to write an editorial in Private Eye. He clearly felt that he needed to place his conversation in the public domain.

    He was right to do so for one reason in particular. Julian Assange has yet to explain his relationship with the Holocaust denier and antisemite Israel Shamir. The statement issued by WikiLeaks that said it dealt with Mr Shamir as it would have done with any other journalist does not wash. WikiLeaks should not have dealt with him at all. Mr Shamir is not like any other journalist. Index on Censorship, which has been a consistent supporter of WikiLeaks on freedom of speech principles, has failed to secure the reassurances it has asked for on the Israel Shamir issue. This is especially worrying for dissidents in Belarus, where Mr Shamir is alleged to have passed cables to the authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.

    The Shamir issue is becoming increasingly difficult to explain away. Until he does, Julian Assange cannot ask to be taken seriously as a campaigner for freedom. If you choose to tolerate or defend a nasty antisemite, it is only a matter of time before people begin to wonder whether you are a nasty antisemite yourself. “

    Update 3:John Kampfner add his voice to things:

    “Index’s association with Assange goes back some time. In 2008 WikiLeaks won the new media prize at our annual awards. We were pleased to host him in a debate in London last September, but his combative demeanour that evening was a surprise. Throughout the past few months we have been at the heart of the tussle. Two of Index’s trustees are Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens and his agent, Caroline Michel. Whenever asked, particularly in the US, about reconciling Stephens’s two roles, I have pointed out that Index is a broad church, and that Stephens has been a longstanding battler for free speech.

    It has often felt like treading on egg shells. We were asked in December to channel Assange’s defence fund through our bank account. Our chairman, the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, and I thought it inappropriate for a charity to become involved in the personal allegations against Assange. So we declined.

    When urged at the start of January by Assange’s publisher to help him write his memoirs I said I was ready to assist, but only if I had strong editorial input and that no subject was off-limits. This, I was told, was not acceptable. Roughly at the same time our organisation started asking questions about Israel Shamir, a man accused of Holocaust denial and of being a close associate of Belarus’s autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko. Index is one of the founders of the Belarus Committee. Despite repeated but polite requests to WikiLeaks, our team was stonewalled, so we went public with our concerns. “

    Update 4: Index on Censorship asks questions about Wikileaks, Belarus And Israel Shamir:

    “It has been reported that an “accredited” journalist for Wikileaks, Israel Shamir, met with Uladzimri Makei, the Head of the Presidential administration in Belarus. Subsequently, it was reported in the Belarus Telegraf that a state newspaper would be publishing documents about the Belarusian opposition.

    Wikileaks has always maintained it takes care to ensure that names of political activists are redacted from cables before publication on its website. Index on Censorship is concerned that some of the Wikileaks cables relating to Belarus that have not appeared on the main Wikileaks website are now in the public domain.

    There are various “commercial crimes” in Belarus that make it a criminal offence to run an unregistered organisation. In turn, many NGOs are prohibited from registering their organisations. This places a lot of civil society in Belarus in a legal grey area which can mean political activists, who cannot register, are placed in breach of the law for accepting foreign funding. It is rumoured in Belarus that many of the Wikileaks cables outline foreign support for opposition groups. Our worry is that this information could be used to prosecute some of the political prisoners currently held by the KGB.

    In the immediate aftermath of the discredited Belarusian elections, Index on Censorship made repeated attempts to contact Wikileaks in order for them to clarify its relationship with Shamir. “

    Assange And Tales of Jewish Conspiracies?

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    First, on twitter there was a suggestion that Assange had told Private Eye that his woes were caused by a Jewish conspiracy.

    Soon after Liberal Conspiracy posted a scan of the article, confirming it.

    I can’t say I’m surprised. That was his trajectory.

    Once Assange was found in the company of Israel Shamir, a Far Rightist and active anti-Semite, you had to wonder.

    Conspiracy theories and racist lies about Jews go hand-in-hand, so where you find one the other is often found.

    That’s not to say that all conspiracy theorists are anti-Jewish racists, but most anti-Jewish racists tend to believe in conspiracy theories, even if they don’t realise it.

    I am sure this is probably just the start of Assange’s racist outbursts.

    Written by modernityblog

    01/03/2011 at 19:50

    News just In, Assange’s Extradition Ordered.

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    According to information coming out of the hearing, Julian Assange’s extradition has been ordered.

    Seemingly, he will have 7 days to appeal. Not looking good.

    I imagine he’ll lose, then end up in Sweden for a while, and finally the US.

    Update 1: The full judgement against Assange is here. Thanks to David Allen Green.

    Update 2: This part of the judgement is interesting:

    “There was at one stage a suggestion that Mr Assange could be extradited to the USA (possibly to Guantanamo Bay or to execution as a traitor). The only live evidence on the point came from the defence witness Mr Alhem who said it couldn’t happen. In the absence of any evidence that Mr Assange risks torture or execution Mr Robertson was right not to pursue this point in closing. It may be worth adding that I do not know if Sweden has an extradition treaty with the United States of America. There has been no evidence regarding this. I would expect that there is such a treaty. If Mr Assange is surrendered to Sweden and a request is made to Sweden for his extradition to the United States of America, then article 28 of the framework decision applies. In such an event the consent of the Secretary of State in this country will be required, in accordance with section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Sweden can order Mr Assange’s extradition to a third State. The Secretary of State is required to give notice to Mr Assange unless it is impracticable to do so. Mr Assange would have the protection of the courts in Sweden and, as the Secretary of State’s decision can be reviewed, he would have the protection of the English courts also. But none of this was argued.

    I have specifically considered whether the physical or mental condition of the defendant is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.

    In fact as I am satisfied that extradition is compatible with the defendant’s Convention rights, I must order that Mr Assange be extradited to Sweden.

    Howard Riddle
    Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate)
    Appropriate Judge

    24th February 2011 “

    Update 3: There a site for Wikileaks videos, wikileaks.videohq.tv

    Written by modernityblog

    24/02/2011 at 12:34

    Continuing Coverage: Wikileaks And Assange.

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    Some new material has been released into the public domain concerning the allegations against Julian Assange.

    I can’t make my mind up on it. I think it tends to detract from the issues which have come out during these Wikileaks, Techworld reports:

    “Text messages sent by the two women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of rape and assault mention “revenge” and “economic gain,” according to testimony during the second day of his extradition hearing.

    Defense witness Björn Hurtig said he was allowed under police supervision to examine hundreds of messages, which “suggest things that go against what the claimants have said regarding the rape.”

    Hurtig, who is Assange’s attorney in Sweden, said he saw text messages “speaking of revenge” and taking “economic advantage” of Assange, who is wanted for questioning related to alleged incidents with two women in mid-August 2010.

    He faces possible charges of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, but his legal team presents those accusations as a veiled attack related to WikiLeaks’ release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.”

    His solicitors, Finers Stephens Innocent, have other material on their site here.

    I haven’t looked through it if anyone finds anything good then please let me know.

    And some of my other posts on the matter:

    Sorry To My Female Readers.

    Julian Assange: Fool? Historically illiterate ? Or Worse?

    Julian Assange And The English Middle Class.

    Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

    Wikileaks Bits.

    Wikileaks, Cyber-attacks And Wandsworth Prison.

    Conspiracies, The CIA And The Racist, Israel Shamir.

    Julian Assange: Fool? Historically illiterate ? Or Worse?

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    Access to the Internet doesn’t confer intelligence, but you would like to think that those with high-speed connections to the web could at least educate themselves on the basics.

    The web is a positive encyclopaedia and with a few clicks you can find out most things.

    So it is all the more annoying to see a constant, almost obsessive, Internet user demonstrate major historical illiteracy, that person is Julian Assange.

    Readers will remember how I am somewhat enamoured of Wikileaks, as I think that it is good for information to come out into the public domain and stimulate debate. How I find the timing of the charges against Assange too coincidental.

    Nevertheless, as the story unfolds in the media you get the impression that Julian Assange is a bit of a fool, or at the very least rather naive and unworldly.

    His failure to do an elementary Google search on Israel Shamir/Jöran Jermas/Adam Ermash was rather worrying.

    Assange’s profile on the free dating site, OkCupid.com, is indicative of someone not fully in touch with reality.

    His latest comments, comparing his treatment to that of the Jews, is unbelievable, the JC has more:

    “The founder of WikiLeaks has compared his treatment by the Swedish authorities seeking his extradition over sexual assault allegations to the persecution of the Jewish people in the last century.

    Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian behind the extraordinary leaks of US diplomatic cables and documents, told The Times that he believed the allegations and the publicity surrounding them were unfounded and motivated by “a mixture of revenge, money, and police pressure.”

    He said: “All sorts of abusive statements were made against the Jewish people in the 1950s and before.

    “I’m not the Jewish people, but the people who believe in freedom of speech and accountability [are in the same position].”

    Julian, it was considerably more than just “abusive statements”. Try searching Google with pogrom, Soviet antisemitism and mass murder.

    I am lost for words.

    Julian Assange And The English Middle Class.

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    Try as I might I can never understand the English middle classes.

    I am probably somewhat at a disadvantage in understanding their attitudes and fixations, but Julian Assange’s release on conditional bail has revealed another peculiarity.

    Assange is staying at the Manor house of one of his backers, Captain Vaughan Smith.

    Smith is the founder of the Frontline, a journalist club, and presumably not short of a penny or two, as he is standing surety with others for Julian Assange, yet the Sydney morning Herald reports that Captain Smith will be charging his guest during the stay:

    “Ellingham Hall, he told the court yesterday, was a perfect location for Mr Assange as it was around a mile away from the nearest police station.

    “It’s a short distance on a bicycle. I can cycle it in about 15 minutes,” the Guardian reported Captain Smith as saying.

    “It’s an environment where he would be surrounded. We have members of staff. My parents live in proximity as well. My father was a Queen’s Messenger and a colonel in the Grenadier Guards.”

    The manor has been in the Smith family for 225 years and was previously owned by the Johnsons, who the Smiths married into, Captain Smith told the Guardian before the court hearing.

    “Some of the buildings are even older. On the walls are paintings of the people who bred me,” he said. “My grandfather liked shooting and I’m partial to it myself.”

    Paying guests at the large estate can spend their days shooting pheasants and partridges and dine on the produce grown in an organic farm on the grounds.

    Mr Assange would also value the privacy of the large estate. The nearest train station is Diss, the Guardian reports, while the nearest city, Norwich, is a half-an-hour drive away.

    But there’s a catch. Captain Smith says the Australian has to pay for his stay at Ellingham Hall, and at starting rates of £10, it might burn a fairly big hole in his pocket. “

    How true that is I can’t say, but it seems strange to charge a house guest, or at least it does to me.

    What peculiar middle-class customs they have in Norfolk?

    Written by modernityblog

    17/12/2010 at 02:45

    Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

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    The debate on Wikileaks has shifted somewhat, and I think that is not useful, as from my cursory reading there is plenty of excellent material.

    Michael C. Moynihan has a story on Israel Shamir, the well-known Far Rightist and hardcore antisemite, and his association with Wikileaks in Russia.

    I can well imagine that the photo with Julian Assange is staged, but that does not excuse his association with this well-known racist.

    I would assume that Shamir wanted to engineer himself into a position of power, disseminating Wikileaks material as he chose and probably pulled the wool over a slightly naive Assange. However, that is no excuse.

    Wikileaks should release a statement disassociating themselves from Israel Shamir and his associates.

    Update 1: Snoopy has done a far superior post on this topic:

    “Whatever you can say about Assange, he certainly captured the attention of the world lately, dividing the audience into haters and admirers. No one remained indifferent, for a wide variety of reasons. It could be said – and I tend to accept the view expressed by Francis Sedgemore – that Assange and his team started something that is far beyond the related scandals and dirt and is of extreme importance to the journalism and politics of this century.

    Assange methods and Assange personal habits, though, may undermine the possible good that could come out of the whole endeavor. Enough is said and written about the way Assange published hundreds of documents that endangered people. A lot is written about his persona, so there is no need to repeat all this stuff. WikiLeaks could certainly do with a more sensible leader.”

    Update 2: The JC has more on Israel Shamir/Jöran Jermas/Adam Ermash.