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NYTimes On Dealings With Assange 221

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-thought-he-was-a-mastermind dept.
kaapstorm found an NYT story on Assange saying "Assange slouched into The Guardian office, a day late. Schmitt took his first measure of the man who would be a large presence in our lives. 'He's tall — probably 6-foot-2 or 6-3 — and lanky, with pale skin, gray eyes and a shock of white hair that seizes your attention,' Schmitt wrote to me later. 'He was alert but disheveled, like a bag lady walking in off the street, wearing a dingy, light-colored sport coat and cargo pants, dirty white shirt, beat-up sneakers and filthy white socks that collapsed around his ankles. He smelled as if he hadn't bathed in days.'"
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NYTimes On Dealings With Assange

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  • You see? Assange is dirty and smelly; he can't be trusted! Real heroes look and smell fantastic!

    • by piripiri (1476949)
      Ad hominem, eh?
    • by uberjack (1311219)
      I think if he was a servant of the enemy, he'd look fairer and feel fouler.
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Meanwhile the NY Times is launching their own leaking site...

    • by poity (465672) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:49PM (#35021242)

      I figured you were making a snide quip which was cool, but now that your post has been modded "+5 Insightful" I feel the need to respond, not to your comment (I have no problems with it) but to the general attitude here that would see a joke not as a joke but as an elucidation of some conspiracy by the NYT author to smear Assange.

      In an article about personal dealings with Assange and not about Wikileaks, describing the man through someone's eyes helps to ground the scene of the story, making it more vivid and engaging. Did he not appear disheveled, did he not look tired? If indeed, then it's a vivid way of describing a man who had prioritized his work above even his own hygiene and upkeep, which gives you a sense of how involved and single-minded Assange was in pursuing his ideals -- it gives you the sense that he truly believes Wikileaks is important, more so perhaps than even himself. The short description can say all that without being tiresomely explicit. This kind of story-telling is what makes an article a captivating read, a veiled attempt to make Assange look bad is really the last thing it could be.

      Just throwing some sense out hoping to dilute the deep cynicism and paranoia I see here.
      I kindly ask everyone to read the entire article first before judging it as an attempt to discredit. I think it's a captivating story worth reading.

      • by BitHive (578094)

        B...but knowing what we think about something without even reading about it is how we show how smart we are here on slashdot!

      • by Candid88 (1292486)

        It's sensationalism, and personally I can't stand it. There's no need to exaggerate every attribute when describing a person or event.

        The art of journalism is meant to revolve around giving a truthful depiction, not whichever depiction is likely to sell the most newspapers.

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          >>It's sensationalism, and personally I can't stand it. There's no need to exaggerate every attribute when describing a person or event.

          Perhaps the simplest explanation is that he really did dress like a slob and smell bad.

          Lord knows this describes enough nerds.

      • it gives you the sense that he truly believes Wikileaks is important, more so perhaps than even himself.

        Although some other stories--like the one about him having two one-night-stands in a night--make you wonder about his priorities. And of course the extra hygiene angle, that two-bang night sounds all the more randy. Or funky. Or something.

        • by rhizome (115711)

          Although some other stories--like the one about him having two one-night-stands in a night--make you wonder about his priorities

          Jealous much? This kind of thing is not uncommon, you know, and rarely-if-ever impinges on a person's politics. Why should Assange be treated differently?

      • by mapkinase (958129)

        That's how many "personal" stories get published: looks are in the first place.

        Actually, it's a basic human decency not to pay attention to the secondary (in this case, irrelevant to the story of how nihilism of world diplomacy works, how it became exposed and how TPTB are after the man in the center of this) drawbacks of the character and the GP was making a joke elucidating the dirty tricks of NYT.

      • I kindly ask everyone to read the entire article first before judging it as an attempt to discredit. I think it's a captivating story worth reading.

        Agreed, the article is well worth the time to read in entirety.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:46PM (#35023904)

        a veiled attempt to make Assange look bad is really the last thing it could be.

        It seems you missed the earlier sentence, the one that says he "slouched into the office" and looked like "a bag lady." Both of those comparisons are explicitly uncomplimentary. I read the entire article when it was first published and what I took away from it was a writer who has some personal issues with Assange trying his damndest to wrap up his insults in a thin veneer of professional neutrality and wordsmithing.

        For example, he took a shot at Assange for describing wikileak's goal as "scientific journalism" - which is the term wikileaks has been using for the practice of providing all source materials for a story to the reader along with the story itself. The writer hand-waved that the the NYT has been doing just that for years now, when as reader of the NYT online for years now, I can't recall them ever providing full sources and have frequently been frustrated by their lack of any sources.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Not really... I hear James Bond smells like Octopussy...
    • by houghi (78078) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @02:01PM (#35021996)

      And the real reason is here: http://houghi.org/Fun/4L3O6E9.jpg [houghi.org]

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:57AM (#35020590) Homepage

    Thanks for sticking to the important stuff!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by inpher (1788434)
      NYT spent less than 0.5% of the text detailing Assange's transformation from the regular hacker attire to someone wearing formal clothes (thus making him also a human, a person, not just a source) on that and you think NYT considers that part the most important? The other 99.5% detailing the leak and relationship between NYT, Other Newspapers, Assange and The US Government are not considered important to you?
      • by Americano (920576)

        No, because out of 9 pages detailing the relationship and story behind how they came to be working with Wikileaks, a couple sentences describing someone's first impression of Mr. Assange is clearly the most important. I can see why the submitter would zero in on that single paragraph, rather than the other content across the other 9 pages.

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          No, because out of 9 pages detailing the relationship and story behind how they came to be working with Wikileaks, a couple sentences describing someone's first impression of Mr. Assange is clearly the most important. I can see why the submitter would zero in on that single paragraph, rather than the other content across the other 9 pages.

          I can see how one would think think this if one was unused to reading a narrative and possessed a short attention span induced by years of sound-bites. In this day and age, we're unused to involved articles. But this one is, in fact, 9 pages of involved description of events. And just as in life - first impressions (and initial paragraphs) are not the full measure of a relationship. Of course, first impressions may set the tone of a given relationship. And I suspect that if the description of Assange w

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      The article talks about more than Assange's clothes - but thanks for focusing on the important stuff.

    • This was like 3 sentences in a 9 page article. Highlighting this section speaks volumes about the person who submitted the story to Slashdot, and not the NYT itself.
    • by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @02:56PM (#35022632) Homepage Journal

      From the NYT article:

      But in its zeal to make the video a work of antiwar propaganda, WikiLeaks also released a version that didn’t call attention to an Iraqi who was toting a rocket-propelled grenade and packaged the manipulated version under the tendentious rubric “Collateral Murder.”

      Hasn't it been addressed already ad hominem that there was no "rocket-propelled grenade " and the object that has been carried was a camera? Did I miss something?

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        Hasn't it been addressed already ad hominem that there was no "rocket-propelled grenade " and the object that has been carried was a camera? Did I miss something?

        You missed the unedited version of the video. The edited version cuts out parts that show armed individuals within the group but goes to great detail to label the reporters (as well as to drive home how callous combat banter can be and highlight the children). You can find various places that offer some analysis of this, one of which is: http://oldbulllee.com/wikmassacre.htm [oldbulllee.com]

      • Did I miss something

        Yes, you missed the memo.

        Memos.

        Main point from memo 1: This is not an story about the murder and rape of civilians, nor about our dealings with people we claim are our allies. This is a story about Julian Assange (make sure to realise that's a foreign sounding name!). He is a traitor to his country and a terrorist! ... Whats that? Bradley? no, I don't know of anybody by that name.....

        Main point of memo 2: Well, it turns out that Assange is not even American! He fooled us by speaking english and all. A

  • by Vernes (720223) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:04PM (#35020672)
    ...character assassination!? Piping hot character assassination? Get em while they're hot! You Sir? Some nice hot character assassination for the little lady?
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      ...character assassination!?
      Piping hot character assassination?
      Get em while they're hot!
      You Sir? Some nice hot character assassination for the little lady?

      And so the propaganda continues. We have people portraying Assange as a "saint" and a "digital Scarlet Pimpernel", ushering in a new age of truth and transparency. But anything remotely critical of this angel of the digital age is conspiracy and character assassination. Of course, then we have those who believe Assange is demon and conspirator, worthy of political assassination - or at least ignoring a few choice laws to warrent arrest. So there's more than enough noise to go around. Thanks for contri

      • Do you even know what The Scarlet Pimpernel was about? Your literary reference-fu is weak.
        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          Do you even know what The Scarlet Pimpernel was about? Your literary reference-fu is weak.

          It's not my characterization - I'm making a reference to what others [telegraph.co.uk] have called him. I also don't think he's an angel.

          • Do you even know what The Scarlet Pimpernel was about? Your literary reference-fu is weak.

            It's not my characterization - I'm making a reference to what others [telegraph.co.uk] have called him. I also don't think he's an angel.

            I apologize. That's just the first I've seen someone say that and it struck me as just wrong. That's....actually worse that a UK paper's 'journalist' doesn't know what the book was about, to compare the two like that. Assange would be more aptly compared to Zorro, if Zorro was a douchebag.

            • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
              That reporter isn't the only one. There's a Swedish documentary called WikiRebels (look for it on YouTube - but I suggest finding the unedited version) that repeats the characterization as well and shows an adoring fan referring to Assange as an angel (to which Assange jokingly suggests it's the hair that does it).
    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... inus threevowels> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:41PM (#35021160) Homepage
      "...character assassination!? Piping hot character assassination? Get em while they're hot! You Sir? Some nice hot character assassination for the little lady?"

      No thanks, I'm all full from that piping hot uncritical hero worship fanaticism I had for breakfast.
      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:24PM (#35021582) Journal

        Personally, I'm full up on all the black and white thinking.

        Guess what? There is a middle ground where Assange is not a hero, he is a human being, who does good and bad things. We can decry the rush to smear Assange without assuming he is a hero. Nothing in the post you respond to indicates hero worship, and so it really appears as though you are trying to smear all of Assange's defenders as mere unthinking "hero worshipers." Is that your intention?

        • by nomadic (141991)
          Only the "character assassination" the poster was decrying was a short reference to how Assange appeared physically. From this minor aside slashdotters rush into action to defend the man, the way they defend every single thing he does. That's mindless hero worship.
          • by spun (1352)

            No it isn't mindless hero worship, and there is no need to denigrate those you disagree with as "mindless." There is an organized campaign to discredit Assange. This reporter may not be part of that campaign, but he is doing their work for them by painting Assange as weird and different. It is entirely valid to question the motives of anyone criticizing Assange, because of the very real, very powerful campaign to discredit him. Criticizing their motives does not imply hero worship of Assange.

      • by Draek (916851)

        You shouldn't be watching Fox News so early in the morning, you know, it's bad for your health.

        • I like how all you have to do is mention Fox News with regards to a post that displays an uncharacteristic slashdot opinion to get an insightful mod these days. I'm starting to think that slashdot might be the single biggest advertisement for Fox News on the internet, considering how often it is mentioned in any story involving any controversy whatsoever.
    • ...character assassination!? Piping hot character assassination? Get em while they're hot! You Sir? Some nice hot character assassination for the little lady?

      Hey, it's the truth, and the truth is ugly. Wikileaks fans should know this. *cough*Collateral Murder*cough*

      So, cry me a river.

  • it really makes you wonder what "incentive" he was given, and by WHO.

    • The NYTimes article is of course very well written and despite painting Assange as fairly unstable and paranoid, the events do seem believable. They aren't exactly unbiased in the matter though, so who knows who is right anymore. It doesn't really matter. This only serves to distract from what really matters: the leaked info, not the leak itself!

      wikileaks of course tweeted about it [twitter.com]:

      NYTimes does another self-serving smear.Facts wrong, top to bottom.Dark day for US journalism.

      • by nomadic (141991)
        "Assange as fairly unstable and paranoid, the events do seem believable. "

        He IS unstable and paranoid. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not doing something worthwhile, or he has no value as a human being, but let's be honest here, he has mental issues.
        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:36PM (#35021708) Journal

          If I knew the US government was gunning for me, and that at least a few of its politicians wanted me lined up in front of a firing squad, I'm sure "fairly unstable and paranoid" would be among several applicable adjectives that would be applicable.

          • by nomadic (141991)
            Yep, remember when the US Government assassinated Daniel Ellsberg? And that firing squad that took out Carl Bernstein? And who can forget poor Bob Woodward, taken out by a CIA hit squad in broad daylight.
        • by drsmithy (35869)

          He IS unstable and paranoid. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not doing something worthwhile, or he has no value as a human being, but let's be honest here, he has mental issues.

          It seems a certain level of paranoia is justified given multiple politicians in multiple countries have condoned, if not actively encouraged, violence against him. America does *not* have a good track record over the last decade or so when it comes to dealing with people it doesn't like.

          Is he likely to get taken out by a hit squad ? Highly unlikely (at least not an American one). There is certainly a non-trivial chance of him getting spirited away into one of those delightful facilities Americans seem t

    • that deaf, dumb and blind media sure play a mean hardball! /sorry

  • by bjk002 (757977) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:11PM (#35020740)

    for a man essentially in hiding, trying to avoid being extradited to an unfriendly (to him) country, which happens to have one of the most robust intelligence arms in the world.

    Can't read TFA as a NYTimes account is required to access (where are the link tags? They're too helpful to exclude in the new layout/design).

    Despite your politics I think you can appreciate the gravity of such a situation and how the attributable paranoia and personal apprehension may manifest itself within an individual.

    • ...trying to avoid being extradited to an unfriendly (to him * ) country...

      * - and increasingly, damn near everyone else

  • with the exception of white hair, and rolled down socks. i hate rolled down socks. and my hair is not that white yet. im sure the description fits a lot of you here much more than you want to confess.

    admit it. we are becoming a new species, new generations are. even some of the old generations are among us. thats why we dont fit in with the crap of this world, watching american idol and eating grease.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      admit it. we are becoming a new species, new generations are.

      You do not understand the meaning of the word 'species'. Do not use words you do not understand. Thank you.

      • by unity100 (970058)
        "species". im becoming a new species. SPECIES !
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, if you accept the "won't interbreed" definition of species then there's some truth to it.

      • You do not understand the meaning of the word 'species'.

        Well, it's rather likely he'll never be able to mate with anyone to produce viable offspring so it's probably a close enough description.

    • Well, you're free to make your own decisions, of course, but I would wager there actually are quite a few of us here on slashdot that take pride in our personal appearances. I mean, hell, look at the sheer number of Apple fanboys on this site and then tell me that all of them go unbathed and unkempt. Sorry, the Apple religion doesn't work like that. :P

      But seriously, while all of us on this site are nerds, to some degree or another, some of use nerds really make this lifestyle look good. Maybe you should
      • by unity100 (970058)
        if you are not going into creativity/working routines that cause you to go unbathed for days, i dont think you would classify as nerd/geek.
  • Fuck 'em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:23PM (#35020922)

    Funny that, the New York Times and The Guardian pissing on the guy doing the job they failed to do.

    fuck you both. fuck you both very hard.

    • Re:Fuck 'em (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Luke has no name (1423139) <lukehasnoname AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:03PM (#35021356)

      That's EXACTLY why they'd piss on him.

      The lamestream media is angry that someone is uncovering the truth about our government.

    • I'm glad the Times and Guardian aren't doing what Assange is doing. I don't want a news source that withholds information as leverage like Assange is trying to do.

      • I don't want a news source that withholds information as leverage like Assange is trying to do.

        Do you honestly think you know enough about how major newspapers/publishing orgs operate to claim that they don't use information as leverage against competitors, it's readers or even sources?

        I think your comment shows you don't know the first thing.

        I'll give you an example: "Snow expected this weekend, stay tuned after this commercial break to find out how much and how it will effect your weekend plans."

        So the news network is willing to let you die in a snowy car crash just so that you'll watch the next se

    • by DWIM (547700)

      Funny that, the New York Times and The Guardian pissing on the guy doing the job they failed to do.

      You mean they failed to receive the windfall that Pfc. Manning provided Assange?

  • does anyone have a link to tfa? article link is broken (not just slashdotted)

  • The description in the summary is from his first meeting, before the cables were leaked.
    From the article:

    Assange was transformed by his outlaw celebrity. The derelict with the backpack and the sagging socks now wore his hair dyed and styled, and he favored fashionably skinny suits and ties. He became a kind of cult figure for the European young and leftish and was evidently a magnet for women.

  • part of me wants my hero to be fresh as a lilly, defiant as a warrior monk and rigid as an arrow in the face of his accusers and the public at large; its what ive been taught makes a hero. This juxtaposition questions my definition of hero, moreso than my conviction to assanges purpose and cause. When i watched the film "Hancock" i had no problem suspending disbelief that a homeless wino could save the day and yet now, with the very same faculty as was present in the theatre i seem to doubt assange?

    T
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everyone seems to forget that Julian Assange is just a credit-stealing con-man.

    Bradley Manning put his career, and possibly his life (if convicted of treason) at risk to collect material to expose the treachery and hypocrisy he saw within US dealings with foreign powers - especially the recent wars. Whereas Julian Assange simply put the material on a webstie, then stole all the glory.
    Assange even put up a website supposedly devoted to raising money for Manning's legal defense - then kept the money.
    And it is

    • by tunapez (1161697)
      Assange, definitely a narcissist. Con-man? Meh, I think he may be under the influence of the spotlight twinkling in his eyes coupled with the fear of certain persecution.
      Regardless of his motivation, the over-classification of all that is data to be hidden from consternation is good for nobody but the status quo.

      Bradley, definitely the hero. No ifs, ands or buts.
      Regardless of his motivation, the over-classification of all that is data to be hidden from consternation is good for nobody but the status q
  • That was what we were taught - the lower classes smell. And here, obviously, you are at an impassable barrier. For no feeling of like or dislike is quite so fundamentalas a physical feeling. Race hatred, religious hatred, differences of education, of temperament, of intellect, even differences of moral code, can be got over; but physical repulsion cannot.

    Orwell, in The Road to Wigan Pier

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Americans slaves were also considered to "smell bad", by the very same people that forced them to work long hours in the hot sun, live in dirty shacks without any plumbing, and have only a single set of clothes to wear! To say nothing of denying them access to decent soap and perfume.
  • By this time, The Times’s relationship with our source had gone from wary to hostile. I talked to Assange by phone a few times and heard out his complaints. He was angry that we declined to link our online coverage of the War Logs to the WikiLeaks Web site, a decision we made because we feared — rightly, as it turned out — that its trove would contain the names of low-level informants and make them Taliban targets.

    The Times is claiming that "it turned out" that Wikileaks made people targets to the Taliban?
    But the Pentagon dropped that pretense back in summer 2010! What the hell, The Times?

  • Is this the article where we actually discuss the things that were leaked, rather than the character of someone secondarily involved in the leaking? It would be kind of nice to hear about some prosecutions - have the people involved in the raping of that afghan boy been charged? Has the american company that procured the child - or the representatives thereof, faced justice? What about Mark Arbib? He passed on critical strategic information to the US - information that was withheld from both the parliament

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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