Assange as the Stainless Steel Rat
measl at mfn.org
Mon Jan 3 22:38:29 PST 2011
Julian Assange: The Stainless Steel Rat by Mattokunobaka
Going through news stories this morning, I found one that had caught my
eye: .Julian Assange to Appear in Court to Appeal. , located at
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/12/13-13 . Having an interest in
the case against Mr Assange, and especially the behavior of the United
States towards him, I proceeded to read the report, when a certain passage
suddenly leapt out at me.
.Meanwhile a dating site profile from 2007, supposedly created by Assange,
had prompted by some lively online debate. The profile on the OKCupid site
featured pictures of Assange, though gave the name Harry Harrison . who
described himself as a .passionate and often pig- headed activist
intellectual. who sought to change the world. He concluded: .Write to me
if you are brave.. (emphasis mine).
I went to the site named and saved a screenshot of the page, located at
(NOTE: as of 1.30pm today, OKCupid has removed the page from public view,
requiring registration to view the page.)
While I was looking over the page, however, it suddenly hit me.I had a
major key to his personality and the way his thought processes work. Quite
I.ll refrain from commenting on the case itself at this time, but I can
clear up one little mystery: the nom de guerre or username on the OKCupid
site. If the site is confirmed as his, as is likely, the pseudonym .Harry
Harrison. is entirely reasonable and to be expected, because it confirms
that Assange is a fan of science fiction. And it.s a key to the mind of
The author Harry Harrison wrote a series of science fiction novels about a
character named James Bolivar deGriz, alias .Slippery Jim., or .The
Stainless Steel Rat.. The original novel was written in 1961; the last was
published this year. I have the first five or so novels in my personal
library, and they.re great favorites of mine.
deGriz lived in a future which had no crime, no wrongdoing, and was
ultimately dull and boring. He refused to be a part of such a boring
utopia. Thus he decided to give police something to do, and entertain the
people, by performing fantastic feats of theft and other nonviolent
crimes, while making the police look like fools. He was wanted by law
enforcement across numerous solar systems, as well as by planetary
governments, some with a price on his head.
(Sound familiar so far?)
Eventually, he was captured by (and joined) a supersecret intelligence
organization, which solved difficult problems concerning societies on
different worlds. Subsequent novels followed those assignments and
One sees from this admittedly sketchy description of the novels (by
memory, I admit) that Julian Assange and Wikileaks serve as the .Stainless
Steel Rat. of the present. His .crimes., if any, have been virtually
nonviolent, leading .law enforcement. (including the CIA) on a merry
chase, while he transmits secret documents from corporations and
governments around the world. He has done this successfully for some years
It.s evident that he identified intensely with the character of Slippery
Jim deGriz from his first reading. Using the alias .Harry Harrison. is
therefore a tribute to the writer he idolizes. I don.t believe Harrison
himself is aware of this, but the connection seems very clear to me. And
yet, as a globetrotter, it.s possible that Julian Assange might have met
Harry Harrison, even in disguise.
It.s also apparent to me that he not only determined to be our .Stainless
Steel Rat., but that.knowing he couldn.t do it alone.Wikileaks was built
around the concept.
Assange, as a hacker, shows the independent, .antisocial. and anarchist
nature of deGriz, although his actions ultimately benefit society.
Wikileaks (and Assange) have repeatedly thwarted past efforts to contain
or stop them. They have repeatedly angered corporations and governments by
disseminating information revealing corruption, lies or otherwise
embarrassing material. Assange, although an Australian citizen, has no
.home. as such, moving from place to place. His support team are
volunteers from diverse places. His equipment, funds and supplementary
resources are likewise scattered. He has supporters across the world, much
like some citizens of the fictional future who idolized James Bolivar
Harrison.s deGriz was a master of disguise, and loved thumbing his nose at
the cops, performing feats literally under their very eyes. Yesterday, I
found this story: Assange attended US embassy party in Iceland at
dated December 13, 2010. It.s worth quoting at length.
By December 2009, Assange had received the US embassy cables, the Iraq war
logs, a video of US helicopter pilots mowing down innocent Iraqis, and
documents relating to the Afghanistan war, all of which were subsequently
published on WikiLeaks.
Although he had already upset the US, Assange was the toast of Iceland at
the time of the party, having published a secret report relating to the
2008 collapse of the country.s banks on WikiLeaks.
It was against this background that Assange apparently thought it would be
amusing to go into the lion.s den. On the day of the ambassador.s
reception, he didn.t even bother to wait for Jonsdottir before heading
over to the US embassy.
Jonsdottir explains: .The irony was that I went to collect him from his
guesthouse and couldn.t find him, so just went back to work and didn.t
even go myself.
.I found out later he.d just decided to go on his own and got in by saying
he was my guest. He said he.d spent a long time talking to Mr Watson..
And, at this time, he was already being sought out by the government of
the United States.
It would appear that the pattern holds. Assange.s boldness and behavior in
this instance would mirror exactly the behavior of the deGriz of science
This analysis is only partial and, as I stated, sketchy. I do believe
there are enough parallels that it offers an important insight into the
mind and personality of Julian Assange.
It.s doubtful that the United States government would be aware of such
important connections to understanding their .enemy.. Often political
appointees, or even those of the traditional hierarchy, are ignorant of
the subjects they are supposed to deal with. And events of the past ten
years have confirmed that they do not understand whom they.re fighting
very well, even now.
Such was the case with Michael D Brown, of Hurricane Katrina infamy
(.Heckuva job, Brownie.), who was appointed head of FEMA under President
Bush. He had no qualifications and no experience in Emergency Management.
Prior to his assignment, he had been a Commissioner for the International
Arabian Horse Association.
I also remember reading a story some time later about a man assigned to
head counterterrorism in the FBI. He admitted he knew nothing about Islam,
and said something to the extent that it .wasn.t needed. for the job.
It.d seem to me that it.s difficult to fight something you don.t
understand. Sun Tzu realized this some thousands of years ago when he
wrote .The Art Of War..
If this pattern has continued into the Obama Administration, then, I
highly doubt they.ve made the connection I.ve described above. Imagination
is not a quality associated with politics, in my opinion. Only fans of
science fiction.probably the older ones.would even be aware of Harry
Harrison.s novels, as I am.
If I am correct, I believe these are important clues to his personality of
Julian Assange and the nature of Wikileaks itself.
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