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Julian Assange: The man who came to dinner, the man who saved Egypt

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The camera pans up on Assange, looking like the cat who ate the canary. "Watching the world change as a result of your work? Priceless. There are some people that don’t like change. For everyone else, there’s WikiLeaks." The ad has been viewed 400,000 times so far.

The problem with the ad's climactic assertion, of course, is that it isn't true.

The Egyptian revolution came after a decade of bubbling protest, of political organization at great cost and risk to the few who got involved. The Egyptian left had spent years trying to create a strong independent labor movement (independent unions were outlawed under Mr. Mubarak).

Others spent years trying to build bridges between secular activists and the Muslim Brotherhood, seeking to find common cause against Mubarak. And the blossoming of online blogs and later social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter had been taken to with gusto by Egypt's young revolutionaries. All of this provided the impetus for the mass protests that took Mubarak down, both in street savvy and online know-how.

To many of these activists, ascribing root credit to Assange or WikiLeaks in their revolutions is offensive. The claim first emerged after the Tunisian revolution ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and kicked off the so-called Arab Spring in January.

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