Is the ‘leaky’ image of Saint Julian of Wikileaks blown?

Update on ‘Saint’ Julian Assange, the liberal elite’s favourite fugitive, and his bid for political asylum in Ecuador, by hiding in that whiffy and genuine banana republic’s London embassy…

It appears that the Wikileaks founder and crusader for ‘free journalism’ isn’t too fazed about climbing into the political sack with Ecuador’s odious, tinpot dictator, Rafael Correa, who has a fiery passion for curbing Press zeal.

A bulletin from the Organisation of American States reports: ‘Correa regularly uses an emergency provision in the country’s broadcast law to commandeer the country’s airwaves and denounce journalists as ‘ignorant’ and ‘liars’.’

In fact, El Presidente makes media censorship a flagship government policy, evidenced by how he has filed multiple defamation suits against critical journalists. Three executives and the former op-ed editor of the country’s leading newspaper, El Universo, have been hit with a $40-million libel judgment and could soon be jailed.

Contrast this with Assange’s assertion: ‘We (Wikileaks) are free Press activists. It’s about giving people the information they need. That is the raw ingredient that is needed to make a just and civil society. Without that you are just sailing in the dark. I have tried to invent a system that solves the problem of censorship across the whole world.’

Then there was this bizarre exchange in a TV interview Assange did with Ecuador’s despot.

Correa: ‘Let us stop promoting this image of poor, courageous journalists, a saintly media trying to tell the truth, and tyrants and autocrats trying to stop them.’

Assange: ‘I completely agree with your view on the media.’

Hence, it’s impossible to deduce whether the pair will make strange bedfellows or swap pillow talk in a meeting of like minds.

ECUADOR’S CORREA: Anti-Press, tinpot dictator and Assange’s ‘guardian’

Meanwhile, support for the plight of the allegedly persecuted Saint Julian appears to be peeling away, like an overripe Ecuadorian banana (for the record: the country exports five million tons of the fruit a year).

David Leigh and Luke Harding, of The Guardian – the newspaper that first championed Assange and publicised the Wikileaks dossier – describe the revulsion of staff at the far Left broadsheet at his beliefs, after one of the journos asked Assange if wasn’t worried that Afghan civilians, who’d co-operated with the coalition forces, could be exposed to danger by Wikileaks’ revelations.

Assange’s chillingly replied, ‘So, if they get killed they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.’

The New York Times, another early Wikileaks glorifier, suffered a similar rush of hindsight, reporting that several of Assange’s closest associates had abandoned him, exhausted by their publicity-hungry leader’s ‘erratic and imperious behaviour, and nearly delusional grandeur’.

As the public mood shifts towards the realisation that a world in which nothing is secret would be stark, staring, dangerously bonkers, schisms are appearing in Assange’s fan club – ‘a motley collection of socialites, movie-makers and human rights bores,’ as the Daily Telegraph describes them – several of whom have acted as sureties for the £240,000 bail, which he has now jumped.

Jemima Khan, the cause-sensitive, multi-millionaire heiress, admits she’s ‘on the hook for £20,000’, but expects Assange will finally go quietly to Sweden, which seeks his extradition on rape charges, a request granted by an English court.

Maybe some of those who once naively bought into the saintly vision of Julian – and his quest to torpedo Western security on the high altar of ‘Press freedom’ – may now be beginning to wonder if they’ve not actually slipped on a very nasty banana skin…and an Ecuadorian one at that.

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Cherie, Jimmy and Julian: Spare us from the pomposity of fallen ‘angels’

I’m rather fond of the adage ‘Hoist by their own petard’, which, roughly translated means trapped by their own, overblown sense of piety and pomposity.

The phrase has a whimsically medieval ring to it – almost Shakespearean, don’t you think? – though I had to consult the dictionary on what exactly is a ‘petard’ (for the record it is related to the old French term to ‘break wind’, which is ironic given the circumstances).

This week we’ve been privileged to witness three perfect instances of it, provided by gobby Cherie Blair, crestfallen comic Jimmy Carr and Wikileaks’ uber-moraliser, Julian Assange.

Mrs. Blair had the brass neck to lambast ‘stay-at-home yummy mummies’ as if they were some abhorrent sub-species and the epitome of self-indulgence. With their 4×4 Chelsea tractors, designer wardrobes and kids at expensive preps, they represent an infinitesimally microscopic percentage of womanhood and are the softest target this side of Harrods’ Food Hall.

As a generalisation, it says zilch for housewives, who do a hard day’s labour looking after their families and receive few thanks for their sacrifice.

Criticising women who ‘put all their effort into their children’ instead of working nobly was a typical Lefty, I’m-always-rightie knee-jerk from the QC, mother of four and wife of one of the world’s consummate snake-oil salesmen.

Pity Cherie didn’t offer some explanation into her own ‘efforts for her children’, such as why she is under investigation for breaching planning rules on the £1.3 Westminster house she helped her son, Euan, buy and convert the basement into an extra flat to boost his income.

This isn’t the first time the roof’s threatened to cascade on the Blairs’ property wheelings and dealings, even though their bricks-and-mortar portfolio is now estimated to be worth £15M.

In 2002, when Euan was at Bristol University, it emerged Cherie had bought two flats there at a discount with the help of the convicted fraudster Peter Foster. And in 2009 she was probed by planning officers after complaints she ran an office from the family’s £3.65 mansion in Connaught Square.

Funnyman Carr’s boob was to pillory Barclays Bank at one of his gigs for using legal though iffy tax avoidance schemes, only for it to emerge he was involved in a little fiscal legerdemain himself – namely exporting his £3.3M earning offshore to Jersey and ‘borrowing’ it back from a fund called K2, thus mitigating his tax liabilities to a little over zero.

No wonder Jimmy’s face is now as red as his jokes are blue.

AN UNFAIR COP? Assange, before fleeing to the Ecuador embassy in a bid for asylum

Finally, to Assange, currently enjoying the b&b hospitality of Ecuador’s London embassy, while seeking asylum – and escape from an extradition warrant from Sweden, where he faces rape charges – in one of South America’s many tainted domains.

Political agitator, defender of free speech or maverick self-propagandist and illegal ouster of secrets, the smirky Australian’s revelations certainly caused a rumpus in 2010, though of the 251,000 diplomatic cables Wikileaks published, 53 percent were listed as  ‘unclassified’, 40 percent ‘confidential’ and only about six percent ‘secret’.

Quirkily, they didn’t quite have the intended anti-US impact Assange wished, as much of the chit-chat was diplomatic drivel and the countries at the butt-end of the comments were mainly beyond the pale of international decency.

Meanwhile, by his latest actions, Assange has dropped a fair few of his backers – i.e. the usual, hand-wringing suspects, like Jemima Khan, journalist John Pilger and film-maker Ken Loach – right in the excrement, since they acted as sureties for his £240,000 bail and are now likely to be a smidgeon less well-heeled.

But, maybe according to the gospel of Saint Julian, that’s what friends are for.