BY JOHN FUND – Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, may be out of jail on bail but his past is still catching up with him.
Last week, he stalked off after an ABC News reporter asked him about charges in a Swedish police report that he had forcibly spread the legs of one of the two women who have accused him of rape. “Oh, come on,” Mr. Assange interrupted. He then ended the interview, hurling the insult “tabloid schmuck” as he left.
Mr. Assange has also taken offense at the leaking of the police evidence. His lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, is demanding an investigation of how the leak occurred. As the New York Sun wrote, “it would be hard to imagine a richer irony — the founder of a Web site dedicated to the leaking of classified government documents protesting the leak of a confidential police report.” Even Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which has been the beneficiary of Mr. Assange’s leaks of U.S. diplomatic cables, has editorialized that it would be “wrong” to accept Mr. Assange’s claims that the charges against him “are simply a conspiracy or smear.”
Another British newspaper is now putting heat on Mr. Assange and his record. The Daily Mail reports that Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was Mr. Assange’s closest collaborator for three years, is writing a book on his experiences that is due out early in 2011. The publisher says Mr. Domscheit-Berg resigned from WikiLeaks last September because he and “other close colleagues could no longer put up with Assange’s high-handedness, dishonesty and grave mistakes.”
That dishonesty has taken on truly bizarre forms. The Daily Mail reports that at a public meeting in London this year, Mr. Assange “falsely claimed that the ‘Climategate’ emails from the University of East Anglia were first published by WikiLeaks.” That is demonstrably untrue, yet Mr. Assange spent several minutes claiming his decision to publish them was morally difficult because they bolstered the standing of critics of global warming treaties.
Mr. Assange’s moral difficulties notwithstanding, the man behind WikiLeaks appears to be a stranger to the truth and a hypocrite to boot.
— John Fund