The Current

Assange's legacy could be undermined by his own 'selfish attitude': former diplomat

The arrest of Julian Assange Thursday starts a new chapter in the saga of the Wikileak's founder. We ask how the world should view him and what will be his legacy: as a whistleblower, a free-speech fighter, or a traitor?

Wikileaks founder has 'inconvenienced many people,' says Peter Hare

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday, a few hours after his arrest in London. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)
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The legacy of Julian Assange's work as a whistleblower could be undermined by his own "selfish attitude," according to a former diplomat.

"He highlighted an issue, which is you know transparency and openness and the use of the Internet, but I think increasingly he used it for his own ends," said Paul Hare, who was a British diplomat for 30 years.

Hare pointed out that while Assange rose to prominence through his efforts to disrupt diplomacy, he also took refuge in "a diplomatic mission for nearly seven years" to avoid extradition. During that time, Hare said that Assange "inconvenienced many people," including those who paid and lost security money for his bail.

"I think he's shown essentially quite a selfish attitude, and perhaps that will be how he will be remembered, rather than the wider causes, which he did espouse."

Wikileaks founder Assange was arrested by British police on a U.S. extradition request Thursday. He was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been claiming asylum for the past seven years.

His fight with authorities began in 2010, when he released reams of classified U.S. documents and videos about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with confidential diplomatic correspondence.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on Thursday in the Ecuadorian Embassy where he'd been holed up since 2012 after the United States requested his extradition, London police say. 2:43

To discuss the next chapter in the Assange saga, and how the world sees him, The Current's guest host Gillian Findlay spoke to:

  • Dan Froomkin, editor of the website White House Watch, former Washington Post columnist, and former senior Washington correspondent for the Huffington Post.
  • Paul Hare, former British diplomat who now teaches at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


Produced by Howard Goldenthal and Ines COlabrese.

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