WikiLeaks vs News Ltd: Jail Murdoch, not Assange

July 15, 2011
Rupert Murdoch.
Rupert Murdoch.

When it comes to comparing the cases of two publishers of secret information — WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch — the hypocrisy from politicians and media is huge.

The key difference between the two is obvious — one seeks to challenge the establishment, the other exerts huge control over it.

Papers run by the Murdoch-owned News International — the British arm of his media empire — were caught stealing personal information from hundreds of people as well as engaging in widespread police bribery.

Their motivation was purely cynical: to produce trashy, sensationalised stories to make money.

The people targeted included victims of crimes and their relatives, as well as celebrities and politicians.

Murdoch’s punishment for this, so far, has been for the British government — under huge public pressure — to block his bid to take over even more of the media for now.

British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg asked Murdoch to “reconsider” his multi-billion pound bid to take over British Sky Broadcasting, saying it would be the “decent and sensible thing” to do, said on July 12.

The bid was withdrawn on July 13 shortly before parliament was due to vote for a motion put by opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband urging Murdoch drop the offer.

Murdoch has already closed News of the World — the tabloid at the centre of the scandal — and will likely have to sacrifice a few editors to satisfy public outrage.

But given his obscene wealth and power to make or break politicians, Murdoch’s empire will use its enormous resources to try to isolate the scandal and come out with the empire more or less intact.

Independent journalist Antony Loewenstein told Al Jazeera on July 8: “Clearly the problem is not so much the staff that worked for the paper, although clearly some staff transgressed and broke laws. The issue is more the direction the newspaper organisation has from the top, from Murdoch down.”

Murdoch is renowned for using his media empire to bully and pressure politicians and governments. This has led pro-corporate politicians all over the world to ingratiate themselves to Murdoch.

Loewenstein told Al Jazeera: “What you’ve seen over the last two or three decades in Australia [from] both sides of politics, a bipartisan agreement that Murdoch should have more and more power, to the point now where there is virtually no transparency between his empire and the political elites.”

The treatment of Assange differs dramatically.

WikiLeaks received the harshest criticism from politicians and the media for publishing US government secrets.

Unlike Murdoch’s, WikiLeaks’ motivation was admirable: to expose lies and human rights abuses, and to make powerful people accountable for the decisions they make behind closed doors.

Unlike NOTW, WikiLeaks stole nothing: the secret US cables it published were given to it by an anonymous source, alleged to be US soldier Bradley Manning.

This did not stop Assange being branded a “hi-tech terrorist” by US vice president Joe Biden, and some leading politicians and commentators called for him to be executed.

Assange is an Australian citizen, but this did not prevent the Australian government from alleging WikiLeaks had committed crimes and initiate a criminal investigation into it — which found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Murdoch’s media outlets all over the world led the charge in condemning WikiLeaks, hypocritically moralising about a government’s “right” to secrecy.

While defending a government’s right to keep secrets about its activities from its citizens, Murdoch’s leading tabloid violated this right for many ordinary citizens — including grieving families.

Assange is under home arrest in London, fighting attempts to extradite him to Sweden over sexual abuse allegations — despite the fact he is yet to be charged with any crime.

The unprecedented circumstances of the extradition attempt have led many to believe the legal action is politically motivated.

Assange appeared in a London court over July 12 and 13 to appeal his extradition to Sweden. His defence lawyers said that since Assange is wanted only for questioning, the extradition warrant was “disproportionate” as there were other means for Swedish investigators to question him.

The ruling was deferred to an unspecified date.

Regardless of Assange’s innocence or guilt, it is clear the case has been hijacked by those who wish to curb his political activity.

The US government has relentlessly pursued WikiLeaks and its supporters in its quest to criminalise the media organisation under espionage laws.

For months, a grand jury in the US has been trying to find evidence of a connection between Assange and Manning in an effort to charge them with espionage.

WikiLeaks has also faced attacks from the corporate world. A financial embargo from financial companies Visa, Mastercard and Paypal has hampered WikiLeaks’ ability to receive donations.

Visa again suspended payments on July 9 after accidentally re-activating WikiLeaks’ account, said on July 12.

A plot by internet security firms to bring down WikiLeaks and its supporters — allegedly at the behest of the Bank of America — was also uncovered in February.

The double standards are blatant: the rich and powerful commit crimes with impunity, those who challenge them face persecution.


Is Justice Catching Up With Murdock ... Nas Daq Wall Street Journal Launches Its Own @WikiLeaks : Is Visa Mastercard Stoping There Payments? By The Same Law US Is Going After Assange ... That Is NOT Init 4 Profit ... USA Should Go After Murdock ... As Looking At He's New @Wikileaks Website Make's Him More A US FED SPY As He Is Init For Profit And Insider WSJ Dow Trading You Not Think Obar Me
"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) Little doubt remains, virtually all governments (except Iceland) are run by tyrannical megalomaniacs who collectively cling to their arbitrary power, like a child to his toy. With well established contingency plans, they crush any valid opposition and subvert all accountability. The current world system, with it's built in impunity, is nothing more than feudalism. The American Constitution has been shredded by the corporate oligarchy by the means of media manipulation, bribes, blackmail, and secret societies' influence. How long will the People suffer their loss of liberty and dignity? One false flag operation after another proves adequate to revoke all rights of the people and embark upon endless colonialism around the globe. As their end draws near, they clutch down upon the people, however, like water, the harder they squeeze the more they lose. Enjoy!
Great article. There is a reason why News Corp fraudulent activities are finally getting the needed attention. The World is changing. I was also thinking that Corporations should not just be called by their corporate names when held accountable. Corporations are made by people, who hide by a corporate name to make their dehumanizing job an easier task.
There is a double standart in everything and this can't continue like that anymore!!!
Brilliant piece of writing there, Ash. Have just posted it on FB, with fulsome praise. You'll know by now that Hoare is dead. Do you think this scandal could get big enough to bring down the Govt. ?
our prisons contain individuals who have committed different crimes. If an individual is convicted of committing a crime they should be put in prison, no exceptions.
Immense Political and Social power, but tilting at the the 'real power' i.e. the Establishment and the Royals was a serious error of judgement and ego. Those of inherited power have not survived for a thousand years by being undone by some up-start from the Colonies. It is interesting to watch this historical drama unfold. who wants to rule the world and is celabrated for it, the other wants to liberate the world and is condemned for it. How can people get it so wrong?
Rupert Murdoch is largely responsible for the Iraq war which has killed over a million people. Tony Blair was practically his minion. I wont agree that justice has caught up with Rupert until the day he faces the gallows. - Braithwa842
True, but its unlikely Assange can get a fair trial for the rape allegations, since the case has obviously been taken over by people looking to silence him, and so much dirt about his personal life has already been reported in the media. Its tragic for the alleged victims, as they are being used to stop Assange's political work
ALL RIGHT RESERVED. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PHYLISTIC POLITICAL SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL ------- EXCEPTS OUT OF THE BOOK “THE STUFF THAT SPY'S STORIES ARE MADE OF” DATED OF RELEAE OF EXCEPTS: JULY 21, 2011 ON MYSPACE AND FACEBOOK etc......central locality and geo--political force in global population growth and management that will eventually surpass that of China as a major trading partner because they are situated as a cross transit point and international hub for several other major Regional Bloc trading corridor as we can see in the world’s biggest drug corridor monopoly that passes through “the Gates of Benign Stupidity and Panettatries”, poppy all over the place for you, me, and everyone else.  You see! Secretary of Defense Panetta thinks they fighting a war on terrorism but what they really up against is a drug war.  Now how do you justify murdering innocent civilian to make claims you’re fighting some other kind of war is just nothing but “dumbfoundedness” on the Part of Panetta.  It’s the stupidity of declaring war on the part of Obama that it questions the EVPs wars that was manifesting from itself, the U.S. Defense Department.  So how do we maintain peace in such a volatile region of the world, “give us our neighborhood back”; they cry, “say no to drug wars”, where illegal drug trafficking tries to manifest itself as a credible political force of terrorism, especially, if all there is to sale is EVPs—War as a means of attracting foreign financial aid......etc.
i believe that if news international is found guilty,they clearly are not suitable to own ANYoff the news madia and the authotities should act accaordingly,and murdock should face criminal charges at the very least and deported after sentance.otherwise the ruling party will also regarded an a criminal organisation for not acting in the public interest.
That the allegations of rape against Assange may be used by people who would like Wikileaks to be silenced does not necessarily mean that it will not be possible for Assange to get a fair trial. This line of argumentation, has been dropped by Assange's legal team as it was alienating a lot of progressive people in Sweden - which they decided was counter productive. While the reporting of "dirt" can be prejudicial it is not always - besides this having shit dug up and spread about you is apart from the course for the victims of rape. The women who have alleged that Assange raped them have agency in this process, they have decided that what happened to them constitutes rape and that they would brig allegations against Assange. What has been tragic in this affair is the way in which people have attempted to deny the survivors of rape justice in the name of free speech, feminism and civil liberties. I find the discourse around this case from sections of the left, including Green Left, extremely worrying as they are putting themselves in a position where irrespective of the final outcome or the facts in the case, Assange will be painted as the victim. This is not some clear cut case of a set up/witch hunt, my understanding of the extradition appeal is that Assange's defence team are conceding many of the facts put forward in the warrant re the alleged events, the issues that they are contesting around are inconsistencies within the warrant and definitions of what does or does not constitute consent, particularly consent under British Law - i.e. it may constitute a violation of Swedish law, but not ours (British) so Assange shouldn't be extradited.
Green Left's coverage has been very careful not to cast judgement one way or another on whether Assange is guilty or not, unlike some other of his supporters. From the tone of your post, you seem to have judged him guilty already. He may be, but the fact is neither you or I actually know. Your assessment that Assange can get a fair trial drastically underplays the forces arrayed against him - or more correctly, the forces intent on stopping what he stands for. To try to push the extraordinary political circumstances to the side and focus purely on the rape allegations ignores the whole context of the situation and misses the point being made. The legal action cannot be seperated from the obviously political and dodgy circumstances in which it was brought, which the media has helped people to forget about since December. To expect that a fair trial would follow from this is folly. Please check out this speech by a feminist at a WikiLeaks rally in which she says: "As women we should never, never let them use our struggle against sexual assault, for their struggle against free speech!"

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