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Anorak | Wikileaks: Julian Assange, Old Media Bias And Sydney’s Anti-Free Speech Rally

Wikileaks: Julian Assange, Old Media Bias And Sydney’s Anti-Free Speech Rally

by | 10th, December 2010

JULIAN Assange is not Wikileaks. Of course, the conspiracy is that if he is undone in Sweden for that alleged rape he will soon be passed to the US for further examinations. To Sydney, then, where there is a rally in support of Assange. The WikiLeaks rally is about free speech – so long as everyone agrees with the thoughts express:

During the speeches an elderly man made his way on to the town hall’s steps and held up a series of signs in support of free speech.

However, he drifted off topic with one anti-gay sign sparking an angry response from one member of the crowd who tore the placard off him and ripped it up.

What is the campaign for if it’s not for free speech?

What Wikileaks has done is show us that the old media might not be up to the job of speaking truth to power. Jay Rosen recalls the notorious NY Times episode in which Michael Gordon and Judith Miller wrote that Saddam Hussein was buying aluminium tubes for a nuclear campaign:

Hard-liners are alarmed that American intelligence underestimated the pace and scale of Iraq’s nuclear program before Baghdad’s defeat in the gulf war. Conscious of this lapse in the past, they argue that Washington dare not wait until analysts have found hard evidence that Mr. Hussein has acquired a nuclear weapon. The first sign of a ”smoking gun,” they argue, may be a mushroom cloud. (italics added)

Michael Massing took a look:

Gordon and Miller argue that the information about the aluminum tubes was not a leak. “The administration wasn’t really ready to make its case publicly at the time,” Gordon told me. “Somebody mentioned to me this tubes thing. It took a lot to check it out.” Perhaps so, but administration officials were clearly delighted with the story. On that morning’s talk shows, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice all referred to the information in the Times story. “It’s now public,” Cheney said on Meet the Press, that Saddam Hussein “has been seeking to acquire” the “kind of tubes” needed to build a centrifuge to produce highly enriched uranium, “which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.” On CNN’s Late Edition, Rice said the tubes “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.” She added: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”—a phrase lifted directly from the Times.

The NY Times became a conduit for official information and disinformation. With Wikileaks, you can go straight to the source. But that source, too, needs to be examined…



Posted: 10th, December 2010 | In: Key Posts, News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink