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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: When Narcissism Meets Rule of Law
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel on the rise and fall of Wikileaks genius Julian Assange.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

For anyone watching British TV on Thursday April 11th, the spectacle of Julian Assange taken by fear and fury while attempting to cling to a premise where he had overstayed his welcome was truly sad. This was the man that bragged about his ability to puncture the power structure of the quasi-fascist state represented by the industrial military apparatus which allegedly ruled the US.

He obviously forgot that true leaders face misery with elegance and success with humility.

Mr Assange embodies the dangers posed by narcissism in the information era. Trained as a journalist and a computer programmer of extraordinary talent, Mr Assange chose to become a headline maker throughout his career.

His preference for the spotlight reached a climax when Time magazine selected him as person of the year in 2010.

By that time he had created Wikileaks allegedly as defense weapon for worldwide civic societies to resist the domination attempts by the states of a cohort of democratic societies led by the US and followed by Europe and his home country Australia.

Mr Assange, however, never indicated any interest in pursuing the totalitarian demeanor of Russia, China, North Korea or Venezuela.

And while Mr. Assange describes himself as "an advocate of information transparency and market libertarianism" this description fails to match his track record.


To be sure, Mr Assange pursued hacking at a very early age.

Raised into a transient family that toured Australia as part of a theater group, Julian Assange was a lonely youngster who was denied the socialization experience that a permanent school provides.

At age 16 he got his first computer as a present from his mother. In college he studied math but never completed academic work to earn a degree. A gifted and talented mathematician, Julian Assange was immediately attracted to software design and from there hacking became the next attraction, which in his case proved to be fatal.

His hacking of the Nortel systems in Australia -- for which he pleaded guilty to 24 charges -- got him a slap in the wrist.. Hacking was for Assange his Second Life kind of fixture. When still a teenager under the name Mendax (liar in Latin), he and two other hackers (Trax and Prime Suspect) began to sow havoc in Australia and the world under the name International Subversives. This group is suspected of having some relationship to the hacking attack to NASA in 1989 but neither Mr Assange acknowledges this nor have the law enforcement agencies filed a claim against him for this.

After the Nortel incident Mr Assange disappeared from the public light to make a glorious come back with the creation and launch of WikiLeaks. Prior to that he published a patent granted to the National Security Agency for harvesting voice data. In 2010 he reached the notoriety zenith when hundreds of thousands of documents from the U.S.'s most reserved files were published everywhere in the world allegedly to "preserve freedom and democracy, today assailed by those that are using the internet to oppress."

A cursory review of Wikileaks production leaves one severely concerned about its impartiality as 90% of the material unveils U.S. government plans, procedures or strategies. This clearly is a mismatch with reality.

Indeed, as profusely documented in the indictments against the masterminds behind AVALANCHE, the organized crime cyber network, countries that have taken cyber space to conduct illicit activities are predominantly Russia, North Korea and more recently China.

It thus is very striking to learn that none of these countries have been the subject of Wikileaks attention. I truly wonder why. Was it because translation costs would be unaffordable by the WikiLeaks organization? Or was it that the WikiLeaks organization has been created to weaken the United States in favor of these nations?

This doubt will perhaps be cleared up during the proceedings for Mr Assange's trial. In the meantime he most probably is thinking that a bit of modesty could have helped him keep Ecuadorian asylum.


Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

 

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