Julian Assange was granted bail Tuesday,* perhaps in part thanks to Michael Moore, who, like the modest, magnanimous celebrity donor he is, would like everyone to know exactly how much of his own money he doled out to this worthy cause. The lefty film director says he "put up $20,000 of my own money," to set the WikiLeaks founder free. Why? Because of the Iraq war, sort of.
Moore is also offering Assange the use of his website, servers, and domain names if it can help keep WikiLeaks "expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars." The leaking site is necessary to prevent another Iraq, Moore argues. "We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy." Now that secrecy is gone.
Michael Moore has never been popular with conservatives, or even centrists. Here's some of the reaction to this grand pronouncement.
*Note: Assange's bail was rescinded for at least 48 hours for a Swedish appeal.
- Limbaugh: Liberals Will Help Anyone, Matt Schneider reports for Mediaite. On his radio show, Limbaugh said of liberals, "of course they would help a thousand rapists if it would mean that one America-hater might go free."
- No, WikiLeaks Could Not Have Stopped 9/11, the National Review's Jim Geraghty writes. Moore also argues that Bush could have prevented 9/11 if the infamous memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S" had been leaked. Geraghty says the memo "did indeed mention hijackings," but also mentioned a lot of other stuff, including "an attack on LAX, that bin Laden wanted to use a hijacking to secure the release of 'blind sheik' Umar Abd al-Rahman, possible surveillance of federal buildings of New York, and 70 FBI field investigations that are bin-Laden investigated and a call in to a U.S. embassy about an attack involving explosives." Concludes Geraghty: "If you could stop the 19 hijackers based on that mix of generic accurate and inaccurate information, you're psychic. Even the left-of-center comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug mocked politicians like Tom Daschle who claimed they could have stopped the threat if they had the chance to see the same information at the time." One final comment on Moore: "I hope everybody who paid money to watch one of his documentaries feels proud right now."
- Faulty Analogy: We Went to War Knowing There Were No WMD, April Peveteaux writes at The Stir. Moore is naïve, Peveteaux says, when he "opines that perhaps Cheney would have been afraid to fabricate the 'facts' that sent us to war with Iraq." Why? He is
completely forgetting that there were a huge number of us who never believed Iraq was a threat. Remember those massive protests, Michael? You should, since you were incredibly vocal as you were collecting awards for Bowling for Columbine. The truth was out there, and it didn't stop an administration hell-bent on a war with Iraq.
- This Is All About Michael Moore! Wonkette's Jack Stuef jokes. Calling Moore a "less Internetty, more fattily American Julian Assange," Stuef reminds everyone that this international scandal should focus on the director. "That man put up a whole $20,000 of Assange’s $310,000 bail, so basically all of it."
- Translation: Don't Trust the Government--Unless You Want Health Care, Commentary's Abe Greenwald notes. "Michael Moore has made a big P.R. show of his pledge to pay Julian Assange's bail," and suggests citizens "'not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey.'" Responds Greenwald: "Right. Instead, you should be naïve about how government works when it decides to take control of your health care, regulate your business, and spend your earnings."
- Moore Offers an Embarrassing Rape Apologia, Melissa McEwan at Shakesville observes. While McEwan generally agrees with Moore's defense of Assange, dismissing the rape charges is unacceptable.
It's eminently possible to not 'be naive about how the government works'... and even to observe that these allegations would almost certainly have been ignored had they been made against someone whom it was not politically expedient to give them attention, and not engage in apologia like 'never believe the official story,' which second-guesses victims' statements, and dismissing the allegations as strange, as if there is some 'right' way for assault allegations to look. An ally to survivors recognizes that the problem is not investigating Assange in this case; it's the failure to investigate people alleged to have done the same in virtually every other case.