by Greg Palast
1 December, 2010
I’m a “hero” and it makes me want to puke. This week I was voted a “Hero of the Media” in one of those fairly harmless polls that are little more than thermometers of face time on the idiot box.
But this Nation Magazine gong is shared with Julian Assange, impresario of WikiLeaks. Yuck.
A friend just compared hero Assange to Daniel Ellsberg. Oh, please!
Ellsberg let out the truth about the War in Vietnam with a noose around his neck. He was arrested and, he told me, he expected to spend the rest of his days in prison. (Lucky for Ellsberg, this was well before Bush and Obama repealed the Constitution.)
Question: Do you remember the reporter who put his byline on the story of Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers? Of course not; because the Times reporter didn’t risk a thing. Julian Assange didn’t risk a thing either – except excess TV exposure and an excess of blonde groupies. The hero of the Wikileaks/Guardian/Times/Spiegel exposure is Pvt. Bradley Manning.
NO ONE gives a fruit fly’s rectum about this heroic man now rotting in Obama’s prison cell, facing a 52-year sentence. Not That includes Mr. Assange, who did nothing to protect Bradley and doing nothing now.
My only hope is that, when Judgment is passed, Assange will join his fellows in that ring of Hell devoted to those who wear the mantle of courage stolen from others. I imagine Julian will burn quite nicely with that white silk scarf he sports around his neck.
But it’s not just the Wicked Leaker who abandoned Manning. The New York Times, happy to take the bows for printing material this soldier risked his freedom for, has not lifted one finger for this brave man.
The Times, you’ll recall, spent gazillions on the legal defense of that Defense Department camp follower Judith Miller, but not a penny for Manning. The Times editorialized in high dudgeon that Judith should not be jailed, but on Manning, you hear only the sounds of complicit silence
The Times greedily feasted on Manning’s information, sold many an ad, then left their source’s carcass to rot in a military dungeon. IS THERE NO SHAME?
This week, I am headed off to the Caspian Sea while struggling with ways to protect the skin and blood of three sources. I have decided to cancel one of the meetings, lose the story, rather than put a man of greater character than mine on the legal gallows.
I wish to thank, sincerely, those who voted me a hero, but a hero I am not. I’m the guy with the pencil, the reporter, telling you the truly courageous, the folks – like Bradley and Ellsberg – who put their careers, and sometimes their corpses, on the line.
I once reported on the slaughter of fifty gold miners in Africa. They were working a site desired by a company on whose board of advisors sat George Bush Sr.
One of my sources, Tundu Lissu, for secretly passing the evidence to me from inside Tanzania, was charged with sedition. My paper, The Guardian, faced a ruinous lawsuit by Bush’s buddies. Me too. The paper was rightly frightened (me too) and hoped I would withdraw the story. But I could not, would not, abandon Lissu.
I have only two jobs: to report on the heroics of others – and protect them.
And my thanks to “Pig Man #1” and “Caspian Man” for trusting me with your stories and your safety.
Pvt. Manning is hero. Assange is a zero.
It is the Mannings and Lissus and Ellsbergs who will save this sorry world, not preening camera-philiacs.
There is only one thing to do if I am to sleep tonight: I am asking The Nation to remove my name — and replace it with Pvt. Bradley Manning’s.
Greg Palast’s reports for BBC-TV’s Newsnight can be seen at http://www.GregPalast.com.
A note: If you have a document marked “confidential” or “eyes only,” go to GregPalast.com and “contact Greg.” Honestly, there is no perfect protection for whistleblowers, but it won’t be me who will give you away. No matter what.
Larry Wilkerson: Why Might a Saudi King Want the US to Attack Iran?
Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership”
Daniel Ellsberg: The lying is being enforced by the upper levels
Latest WikiLeaks release: US cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis
Whoa, I didn’t think Palast was such a hothead, and now I’m suspicious of his reporting in general. Get your facts strait, Greg. Assange/WL have repeatedly defended Manning and encouraged monetary support for his defense (www.bradleymanning.org/). As another poster mentioned, Ellsberg has spoken highly of Assange AND Manning in the same context, in many, many public venues. You mistake Assange’s cool behaviour for narcissism. This could be true in his personal life, but publicly he has been a staunch defender of WL sources and has emphasized that they are just a vehicle for safe disclosure. Really Greg, why get so snippy? If you’re so concerned about Manning, why don’t you go to Quantico and try to interview him, talk to his family/friends, and write us a worthy story?
LOL! The noose is tightening around the washed-up, has been American establishment that thought all they had to do was continue to proliferate their bullshit, cling to their grip on power which they have virtually strangled and killed, and just say no while screaming 9/11. Well news for these old wrinkled has beens, times up. Games over. They done. Not because of anything but the actions of their own and what they have done to their own people. [edited]
Palast rather disappointing, but I guess entitled to his opinion. If all this classified information had not been passed on to Assange/WikiLeaks we would have none of this right now. But it was passed on and now we, the entire word, gets to see what the US is really all about. Caught with the pants down and the “blowback” is starting to hit the fan big time!
Assange only has the CIA and Interpol “on his tail” now because he is no longer of any use to them. He was co-opted, stroked, and allowed to live so long as the data he continued to release served the purposes of the military-industrial complex. This data has already been well cooked and has had all references to 9./11/01 completely removed. Assange is no hero. He got in over his head, and he sold out.
This is depressing, Mr. Palast. Can you possibly be any more inconsistent?
If you really believe that Pfc. Manning is a hero, why are you crapping on Assange, who now has InterPol and the CIA on his trail? What do you think his life is worth, now that he has had the courage and class to take on the global criminal enterprise that is our government?
Without Assange, Manning would still be an anonymous soldier. Assange provided the means of distributing Manning’s information; and he is risking not just his freedom but his life by pissing off the creeps who run our government.
You are parroting the asshole MSM, and it’s not a good look for you. Read Dan Ellsberg if you want to know what a real hero thinks of Julian Assange.