If there's one downside to Edward Snowden's NSA leaks it's that they have offered a new platform for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's stateless self-aggrandizement. Although Wikileaks had nothing to do with Snowden's leaks, the washed-up whistleblowers are now forcing themselves onto the story like a government probe on a trans-Atlantic fiberoptic cable.
Icelandic businessman and Wikileaks associate Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson boasted to Bloomberg yesterday that he has chartered a private jet to fly Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to Iceland, where Snowden has hinted he'd like to seek asylum. Sigurvinsson says that, somehow, Wikileaks could try to secure Snowden Icelandic citizenship. Julian Assange claimed in a phone call to journalists that he has been "in touch with Mr. Snowden's legal team" and is "in the process of brokering his asylum in Iceland." How Julian Assange might positively influence Snowden's asylum case in Iceland, when he is himself currently a fugitive avoiding a Swedish sex crimes case, is unclear. Nor is the very public advertisement of Team Wikileaks' rescue mission likely to help much besides Wikileaks' Twitter follower count.
But now that Wikileaks' submission system is in shambles and whistleblowers like Snowden have wisely found other venues, the only thing for Julian Assange to do is hijack other peoples' stories. For example, there was the conspiracy theory-mongering tweet made hours after the death of journalist Michael Hastings saying he had come to Wikileaks' lawyer and told her he was under an FBI investigation. (He wasn't.) It's worth nothing that Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson, the grandstanding jet-charterer, founded Datacell, the company that processes Wikileaks' donations. People are only going to donate to Wikileaks if it appears to be doing something.
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