(Updated for current stories)
Wikileaks has become in my mind a rather regressive entity, given the revelations from the 2016 Presidential Election. Julian Assange was always a pretty bunk leader for me, I was never a fan. But he absolutely served a useful purpose early on in the game of revealing abuses of power by the Bush administration and by the National Security State under Obama, which ostensibly remained exactly the same.
Looking back to the earliest revelations, we see that Assange and Wikileaks demonstrated an unusual “convergence” as the “Wikileaks Lessons” article clearly demonstrates. Ron Paul and Vladimir Putin are somehow on the same page in regards to Wikileaks, and Obama, an outspoken advocate of Liberal values, is required by the National Security state to take the posturing he has. I would say catching Assange is low priority, but he still persona non grata here in the US.
Something I definitely have come to appreciate about Ed Snowden is how very unlike Julian Assange he is. His concerns are (as far as any public person can tell) completely genuine, part of an ongoing concern of his about the state of his country. He is a patriot through and through. Assange has no beliefs, at least as far as I can tell. He is an opportunist and a blowhard, a person who clings to fame and notoriety more than the principles he apparently holds.
When Snowden was choosing where to go with his information on NSA surveillance, he decided against Assange, because he correctly identified the difference between leaking documents wholesale and simply letting the public know about abuses of power. Ellsberg’s leaks had more to do with old occurrences, how we were led into the Vietnam war, not current information that could compromise agents and soldiers in the field. Those are lives, lives worth saving just like any others. Assange has a clear disregard for the consequences of his actions, opting for the “greater good” position that is, rather ironically, utilized by the very institutions he professes to be fighting. His greater good is just like any other, and is therefore a failure to see the big picture.