Commentary Magazine


What the Assange Book Deal Supports

In a previous post, I expressed outrage that two supposedly reputable publishers–Random House and Canongate–were planning to fork over more than a million bucks to the odious Julian Assange to write his memoirs. I’d like to emphasize the sort of sleazy action they are subsidizing by drawing attention to this Guardian story, alluded to in today’s Afternoon Commentary:

Zimbabwe is to investigate bringing treason charges against the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and other individuals over confidential talks with US diplomats revealed by Wikileaks….. A cable dated 24 December 2009 suggested Tsvangirai privately insisted sanctions “must be kept in place”.

High treason in Zimbabwe can result in the death penalty.

This is typical of WikiLeaks’ impact. Far from showing any nefarious doings by the U.S. government, which Assange seems to hate so much, his stolen documents actually show U.S. diplomats simply doing their jobs by meeting with various people around the world–including people who would rather not see their dealings with America revealed to their enemies. Yet reveal them Assange does, not caring, apparently, about the impact of his revelations, whether they cause embarrassment or imprisonment or even death.

Perhaps with December 31 approaching Bertelesmann execs might make a New Year’s resolution: We resolve next year not to subsidize evil authors. That might even be easier to keep than the usual weight-loss resolutions.